Chris Mortensen, the ESPN reporter who was at the heart of the Deflategate saga, recently opened up about what life was like from his perspective.
Mortensen, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in January of 2016, discussed his return to reporting on the NFL in a profile that appeared on The Ringer. In it, Mortensen (who’s had good news in his battle against cancer) mentioned the Deflategate episode and his role in it.
The backstory was that Mortensen had erroneously reported in January 2015 about the alleged inflation of the Patriots’ footballs. He tweeted that 11 of 12 footballs used by the Patriots were under-inflated by two pounds. This proved not to be true, but Patriots fans blamed Mortensen’s report for helping to trigger the NFL’s investigation into Deflategate (which cost the Patriots a fine, draft picks and Tom Brady for four games of suspension).
The vitriol that emanated from Patriots fans, according to Mortensen, became extreme.
“What bothered me is we’re in an era where if your wife goes onto social media, she basically reads that they want you to die,” Mortensen told Ringer writer Bryan Curtis. “Even after I got cancer, I got some death wishes.”
After receiving treatment for cancer, Mortensen returned to ESPN in September.