A pair of 20-year-olds and a popular sports website yukked it up on Tuesday, proud of pranking two NFL general managers.
But the pranksters may have broken U.S. state and federal laws in recording a telephone conversation without either GM’s consent. Deadspin.com even took a legal risk, albeit likely a small one, for posting a transcript and audio recording of that phone conversation.
A call by QMI Agency to a Deadspin editor was referred to the writer of the story, Barry Petchesky.
In a telephone interview -- recorded with Petchesky’s consent -- he said his story “was run by our legal team before it was published,” and furthermore that “I’m not a lawyer. It would just be foolish for me to even pretend that I know what I’m talking about” regarding the legality of either his story or the pranksters’ actions.
According to Deadspin’s report posted late Tuesday morning, last Thursday the two unidentified pranksters called Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix, posing as Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik. They hung up when Nix actually got on the phone, and they didn’t answer when Nix phoned them back repeatedly that day and again on Friday. Nix believed he was calling back Dominik.
On Friday, the troublemakers called Dominik on another phone. Upon getting him on that line, by chance Nix called them back on the original cellphone. The pranksters put the GMs on speakerphone -- and not only listened in but recorded their conversation, as the GMs talked shop for six minutes.
Neither GM was aware anyone else was listening or recording their conversation.
According to reports and American legal websites, that’s strictly against the law.
“NFL security and our attorneys are looking into it,” the NFL said in a statement on Tuesday.