There's a scene from Season 5 of The Sopranos just after Tony Soprano got into the car accident with the smoking hot Adriana (who happened to be Tony's insane nephew Christopher's fiancée) late at night on a rural in Dover, New Jersey. Word broke about the accident and the Soprano crew began playing phone games the next morning.
With no information other than "horn-dog Tony crashed his car late at night with Adriana," the phone tree started with Paulie sharing this information, and then about five mobsters later it wound up with Bobby telling someone that Adriana was, um, pleasuring Tony.
That's how rumors get started. Misinformation begets more misinformation, and before you know it, lives are changed until the truth comes out.
A far less sexual but no less destructive rumor chain briefly erupted from Houston Texans camp this morning. It went like this:
(Times are approximate.)
9:30 a.m. -- An unnamed reporter for our station called into the hotline from Texans practice to talk to the producer of the 1560 morning show ("John & Lance") and was semi-frantic that Andre Johnson had just been taken off the field on a cart.
9:31 a.m. -- One of our interns overheard the producer tell John and Lance that Andre Johnson had been "carted off" the field, which I guess technically was factual insomuch as Andre Johnson was riding a cart. However, being "carted off" implies a certain level of incapacitation that prevents, you know, walking. And thus began the assumption that Andre suffered a leg injury of some sort.
9:32 a.m. -- The intern went and told another intern about the tragic turn of events that befell the All-Pro wide receiver, and this second intern went over and broke the terrible news to a third intern: Andre Johnson had suffered two torn ACL's.
9:33 a.m. -- Amidst a blurry mask of tears, perhaps seeking some solace over the Texans' lost season, the third intern sought out the nearest person for a consolation hug so he could share the bad news. Perhaps because his English was barely decipherable amidst his sobbing and blubbering, the third intern was barely able to convey the bad news to his huggee, my producer: The news that Andre Johnson would never walk again.
9:34 a.m. -- In a near catatonic state of complete shock, my producer came back to our program director's office with the most barren of blank stares and shared with him the horrifying news: Andre Johnson had passed away.
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9:35 a.m. -- At that point, my program director asked me to completely change around the run sheet for the show. We would be dedicating the entire show to the life and times of Andre Johnson. I went into Olympic caliber multitasking -- I downloaded audio of Andre beating the shit out of Cortland Finnegan, while openly pondering how Randy Moss might fit into the Texans offense, all the while checking Bodog to see if the opening line had moved yet on the Colts game during the opening weekend. It was quite a cathartic moment. I held back my tears. I was brave. The Texans season was over, but I would fight on.
9:36 a.m. -- The unnamed reporter called back the producer of "John & Lance" and told him not to worry -- Andre Johnson had a dislocated left index finger. It's nothing serious.
Moral of the story: Know the difference between "rode a cart" and "carted off."
Listen to Sean Pendergast of Yahoo! Sports Radio (Sirius 94, XM 208) and 1560 The Game, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.