The headline made it sound really bad.

“Broncos receiver Cody Latimer arrested when his domestic call led to warrant”

Arrested. Domestic.

Not good.

Our brains have been trained to think the worst when we see those words, and rightfully so. Domestic violence is a serious issue, and several high-profile cases involving professional athletes have highlighted the problem in recent years.

Fortunately, that headline was garbage.

It appeared on on Tuesday afternoon a little before 5 p.m. with no byline (at the time) to accompany the gaffe.

Technically, everything in it is true. Yes, Cody Latimer was arrested and yes it was following a domestic violence call. But it’s not what it seems. Here’s part of the story from explaining more clearly what happened:

Latimer was arrested on Monday for failing to pay a year-old traffic ticket after he called the police to report a domestic dispute incident.

…Latimer called the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office at 2:40 a.m. Monday to report that his girlfriend, Jaimee Rando, “put her hands on him.” After running a background check on both parties, the Sheriff’s Office found that Latimer had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for a minor traffic ticket issued in March of 2015.

The two were arrested, and Latimer ended up paying $311.50 to settle the traffic issue before bailing Rando out of jail on Tuesday afternoon.

So, let’s get this straight.

Latimer clearly felt threatened enough by Rando’s actions to call the police. There’s nothing wrong with that. Domestic violence with a man as the victim, while less common, absolutely occurs, and Latimer had every right to contact the authorities if he felt he was in danger.

When the cops showed up, they decided to do a little digging on the folks they found. I didn’t pass the bar exam, but I assume it was legal to run a background check on Latimer. Whether it was ethically right to do that on a potential domestic violence victim is a debate for a different day.

The check revealed Latimer hadn’t paid a traffic ticket, and boom, the sheriff’s office got a two-for-one special. Under the law, they had every right to arrest Latimer. Still, you have to wonder if the move was needed, considering it may deter future victims from contacting police if they need help but are worried they could be arrested for something as petty as an unpaid traffic ticket.

Yes, Latimer should have paid his ticket. That oversight was flat out lazy. But the result of all this led to something very unfortunate. Not only did he get arrested, but tens of thousands of folks just scanning headlines may unfairly assume Latimer did something far worse.

Probably the biggest complaint journalists face right now is that they’re just trying to be first and are not worried about being right. The second is that articles have become “clickbait,” with the folks penning them (typing them?) more worried about traffic to their site than getting facts straight.

The majority of the time the “clickbait” narrative is hogwash. Everything on the Internet is clickbait; no digital platform puts a story on their website and thinks “Jeez, I hope no one clicks that.” But in this rare instance, the “clickbait” crowd is right. Whoever wrote the headline for 9News knew it would generate traffic. And unfortunately that meant dragging Latimer’s name through the mud.

Drag Greg Hardy’s name through the mud all you want.

Drag Ray Rice’s name through the mud all you want.

But a kid who’s had an underwhelming career with the Broncos? Don’t drag his name through the mud because serious (bad) buzzwords in the headline will generate a few more eyeballs.

To 9News’ credit the headline was changed at some point Tuesday night. As of about 8:30 p.m. it read: “Broncos receiver Cody Latimer, girlfriend arrested.” (The page URL still reflects the original headline, by the way.) Bylines were also added to the story, but it would be unfair to suggest either of the men’s names now on it had anything to do with the original headline. Newsrooms are big places; very regularly authors don’t write their own headlines.

Still, someone made the error, and for a short while it reflected very poorly on Cody Latimer – something he didn’t deserve.

The headline that made it all sound really bad was actually a really bad headline.