Yesterday, news broke that Johnny Manziel got into some trouble with police in Avon, Ohio after getting into a roadside argument with his girlfriend on Monday. Manziel, who went to rehab this summer, admitted to drinking that afternoon. It was the biggest NFL story of the day. We covered it, as did every other sports outlet. Adam Schefter, the biggest NFL reporter in the biz, published a 318-word report to his Facebook page. It is nearly indistinguishable from Newsnet5 Cleveland’s initial report on the incident.
Here’s the full text of the Schefter post:
Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, was pulled over by Avon police after police said a domestic argument got out of hand on Interstate 90 westbound earlier in the week.
Police said alcohol was involved.Tthe argument took place between Manziel and his Texas Christian University girlfriend Colleen Elizabeth Crowley.
According to a four-page police report, both were drinking but were not charged.
The incident started on I-90 westbound near the Nagle Road overpass on Monday at 6 p.m.
According to the report, a witness called police after seeing Manziel’s white Nissan use the shoulder of the road to pass her at a high speed.
The witness told police the couple was arguing and Crowley attempted to exit the vehicle while they were on the road.
In the report, both Manziel and Crowley admitted they were having an argument and Crowley threw a wallet out of the window.
The report stated the couple then stopped the car in an Avon neighborhood and continued arguing. That’s when a second witness called police.
Minutes later, police stopped Manziel’s car on Nagle Road where he said both he and Crowley had been drinking in downtown Cleveland earlier that day.
In the report, Crowley told police Manziel pushed her head into a window. She wanted her cell phone because she was concerned about her safety and said she just wanted to return to Texas.
The report stated police did see an abrasion on Crowley’s arm but later determined that the abrasion was from Manziel’s attempt to keep her from getting out of the vehicle while it was on the road.
According to the report, police did not believe the couple was intoxicated to the point where they could be charged and Crowley told officers that she did not want to press charges so both were allowed to leave the scene in Manziel’s car.
The police report was first obtained by WEWS-TV in Cleveland.
Both reports have an extra comma in the first paragraph, which is not ironclad evidence that Schefter copied and pasted the report outright, but it strongly suggests that is the case. The only alteration is Schefter’s removal of the phrase, “obtained exclusively by newsnet5.com,” in the third paragraph, which he moved to the bottom and changed slightly.
While that bottom line looks like attribution, he never links to the report, or says that the text of his post belongs to WEWS.
We’ve reached out to ESPN for comment, and will update when we hear back from them.
Update (4:55 p.m.): Here’s ESPN’s statement on the matter:
ESPN’s internal newswire shared the WEWS report and in doing so, noted where it came from. When Adam transferred that report to Facebook via cut/pasting, he credited the station yet accidentally excluded the introductory part of the newswire that mentioned how the actual wording came from WEWS. It was a completely honest mistake.
Update (6:58 p.m.): Schefter has edited his post with a tiny disclaimer, and yet there is still no link to the original work.
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