On Tuesday, Yahoo's soccer blog posted a seemingly innocuous article on Lionel Messi's loyalty to Barca. "When I eventually pass on, I will only play ghost football at Barcelona. I am happy there. No amount of spirit money will tempt me," he supposedly said.
Cute, but...a joke. Dirty Tackle does these things sometimes, and the regular readers know what's up. An ESPN soccer blog quickly took the quotes and ran with it, however. It was quickly taken down, but it lives on in screenshots and URL fossils.
We don't particularly blame the ESPN blogger for getting suckered in. If you're not familiar with Dirty Tackle's "Future News" series, there's nothing that makes the joke immediately apparent. And there's nothing over-the-top or completely unbelievable in the quotes, which is how good satire is done. But there is a real sin here: taking a piece of information at face value, sticking it in your post, and not giving any credit. This happens all the damn time on the internet, and it's gross. And it's only when something like this happens that writers get called out on it.