ESPN’s Seth Wickersham stands by Patriots story

Seth Wickersham
ESPN reporter Seth Wickersham. –Cheryl Senter/Boston Globe

Seth Wickersham, who wrote last week for ESPN the Magazine that a rift had developed in the Patriots organization among quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft, stood by his reporting in a radio interview Monday morning.

He had done a cover story for ESPN The Magazine on the TB12 method in November. Just as the story was released, the Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers.

“It went counter to everything the people in the building had been told. It just made no sense,’’ said Wickersham on WEEI. “Once that happened, my reportorial antenna went up, and I went in to try and answer that question ‘Why did the game’s smartest and most shrewd long-term strategists trade two backup quarterbacks in a two-month span, when his starter was 40 years old and showing up on the injury report every week.’’

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The radio station promised there would be an interview with Brady for most of the morning, but Brady never called in for his weekly appearance.

In separate interviews over the weekend, Brady and Kraft responded to the story. Brady said there’s no coach he’d rather play for then Belichick, while Kraft said he did not order Belichick to trade Jimmy Garoppolo and called Wickersham’s report “a total fabrication and fiction.’’

Wickersham wrote that he spoke to more than a dozen New England staffers, executives, players and league sources. He said he spoke to multiple players.

“I can’t clarify my sources any more than I did in the story,’’ he said when pressed about who he spoke with.’’

Wickersham added: “I think the reporting process in a story like this has to remain as confidential as possible. I was as transparent as I could be in the story.’’