In late July, ESPN got a well-deserved tsk-tsking from the Internet after a SportsCenter anchor delivered "breaking news" about Dwight Howard that was lifted, nearly verbatim, from a RealGM.com report. "This stuff happens from time to time," Vince Doria, ESPN's senior vice president and director of news, later told ESPN's Poynter Review Project Blog. He added that "you'd like it never to happen."
Well, three weeks later, it happened again.
Last night's 6 p.m. SportsCenter featured language taken from Yahoo's exclusive report about Red Sox players turning on Bobby Valentine. It was all Yahoo's work. The only thing SportsCenter added was the word "reportedly" (and a little something from ESPN's Buster Olney about 17 Red Sox players being involved).
Yahoo's Jeff Passan:
Boston Red Sox players blasted manager Bobby Valentine to owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino during a heated meeting [...]
Buster Olney says 17 players attended the meeting that saw players blast manager Bobby Valentine to owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino
Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia were among the most vocal in the meeting, in which some players stated flatly they no longer wanted to play for Valentine, the sources said.
Reportedly, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia were among the most vocal in the meeting, stating flatly that they no longer wanted to play for Valentine.
That "reportedly" is doing a lot of work. (Yahoo never gets mentioned, which elevates misdemeanor plagiarism into outright dirty pool.) There are so many ways around this, too! How about: "Gonzalez and Pedroia spoke up at the meeting and were really pissed, Yahoo Sports reported." Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there.
At 10 p.m., Baseball Tonight finally credited Yahoo, but recycled some choice phrases from Passan's story—"flatly stating," "scapegoated unfairly." An hour later, SportsCenter got around to crediting Yahoo Sports as well, but continued to present Passan's words as ESPN's own script.
Yahoo Sports reports that Adrian Gonzalez texted ownership on behalf of some teammates who wanted to air their dissatisfaction with Bobby Valentine after he left John Lester in a game long enough to allow 11 runs, among other things. Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia, among the most vocal in the meeting, in which some players stated flatly that they no longer wanted to play for Valentine.
Video of that is below. We've reached out to ESPN for comment.
h/t to Luke