Aaron Kromer speaking to the press in 2013

Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer dissed quarterback Jay Cutler to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, then later apologized to the team. The Tribune‘s Brad Briggs broke the story, comment followed. But the comment is hard to track.

“Thank you, Aaron Kromer, for telling the truth about Jay Cutler. . . . Sure, Kromer has to go. He probably should have been fired as soon as he finished his apology.” Thus the Tribune‘s Steve Rosenbloom captures the basic yin and yang of the situation.

The Trib‘s David Haugh is comfortable passing judgment on Kromer. “. . . should have to watch Monday night’s game on ESPN instead of at Soldier Field after stamping himself as Coach Can’t-Trust-Me,” writes Haugh.

But ESPN blogger Michael Wright is ambivalent. “Aaron Kromer broke locker room code and breached the trust of quarterback Jay Cutler,” Wright asserts. Yet, “make no mistake, what Kromer said wasn’t wrong. It was just the manner in which he did it.”

“God bless Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer,” writes Rick Morrissey in the Sunday Sun-Times. “Honesty was almost extinct at Halas Hall until he came along.” On Monday Kromer is less hero than fall guy. “Then someone had the very bad idea of letting Kromer admit in front of the offense that he was the leak,” Morrissey marvels. “In other words, the Bears chose to further tear apart an already ripped-up team, to cause dissension and suspicion.”

The journalistic issue being played out here is a tricky one. The manner in which Kromer did it—to appropriate Michael Wright’s phrasing—was the way the press prays someone does it: he talked to the press. Does the press scold him for that? How heartily do writers rip Kromer for giving Rapoport a story they all wish they’d been given instead? And we have a right to wonder: Was this the first time Kromer leaked, or has he quietly been available to the press all along (more likely to Morrissey than to Haugh, I’d say)?

I do not know. But it’s conceivable the only thing here that the Chicago press actually regards as sinful was done by Rapoport, by being precise enough about what he heard from an insider to touch off a witch hunt and possibly burn a source.