Deadspin Embarrasses Itself With ESPN Posts

When the bizarre and sordid tale of Steve Phillips and an ESPN assistant broke on Wednesday, everyone covered it. A quick mid-day scan yesterday showed it in the headline sections of just about every major sports site. (The only one where I didn't see it was CBSSports.com.) But there were police reports, statements from the parties involved and even a 911 call from Steve Phillips' wife, Marni. ↵

↵And then Deadspin tossed up this post. ↵

↵
↵⇥On September 9, we received a tip. Subject: "S. Phillips." The contents? "Rumor winding it's way around the hallowed halls of the WWL is that Steve Phillips is getting canned tomorrow for an offense on par with Harold Reynold's misdeed." ↵⇥

↵⇥After a call to ESPN public relations department asking about the "rumor" I was told that "I would be wrong" to print that story because it was inaccurate. Fine. I would have been. But natural follow-up question to these types of rumors, as per give-and-take protocol, is well, what's the real story then? Was there an incident with Phillips that Baseball Tonight people are concerned about? However I was summarily nothing-to-see-here-please-dispersed. ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵Well, that's unfortunate for A.J. Daulerio and Deadspin. You know, you win some, you lose some. You move on ... or you stomp around and abandon all sense of decorum. ↵

↵

↵ ↵

↵
↵⇥And since the tenuous connection between rumor and fact for accuracy's sake has been a little eroded here, well, it's probably about time to just unload the inbox of all the sordid rumors we've received over the years about various ESPN employees. Chances are, at this point, there's some truth to them. ↵
↵

↵Emphasis added by me on that last point, but anyway, on went Deadspin, trashing a few talking heads and a few middle and upper management types with completely unsubstantiated information. I won't link to the posts because the people humiliated there don't deserve any sort of notoriety. They didn't before Deadspin posted about them, and they don't now. ↵

↵

↵The motives of yesterday's run on rumors were childish to begin with, but I wanted to let them all play out before rendering some sort of moral verdict. How well were they reported? Would there be anyone willing to say who they were when slandering one of their bosses or co-workers? But there weren't any names with any of the sources. There wasn't any real reporting. It appears, instead, that A.J. typed "ESPN" into his e-mail search and just went wild with whatever was sent his way. By doing so, A.J. openly declared that Deadspin no longer cares whether anything it posts is true, and did so in a malicious manner. ↵

↵

↵Why does any of this matter? Right or wrong, when sports blogs are mentioned by people who are only casually acquainted with sports blogs, Deadspin will be one of the first mentioned. And now they've gone and made a fool of themselves, and unfortunately, by association, a lot of people will lump us all together. ↵

↵

↵Even with its salacious nature, the Phillips scandal really only qualified as news when the police got involved. But the stories that followed on Deadspin after Phillips are of absolutely no consequence to me, you or anyone but the parties involved and, by association, a few co-workers at ESPN. Is it news that people often kept in close quarters date and occasionally end up having sex? I'm going to say no. Instead, this became about trashing ESPN because their PR folks wouldn't confirm a rumor. It isn't an appropriate reason to empty out your e-mail inbox with everything you've ever been told about ESPN. For the good of sports blogs who strive to have a relevant voice that will be taken seriously, it's the kind of thing that should be roundly renounced, and that's the point of this post. ↵

↵

↵(Other thoughts -- with some NSFW language -- from Brian Cook, Dan Levy and Stupid Sports Blog.) ↵
↵
↵UPDATE: A statement from Chris LaPlaca, ESPN SVP, Corporate Communications, was sent to Dan Levy: ↵

↵
↵⇥"Deadspin's self-admitted rumor mongering is despicable behavior by any standard and shows callous disregard for its impact on people's lives. It is not worthy of response and those responsible should be called to account. ESPN is home to thousands of hard working, creative and caring people who are the key to our success. Our company is not perfect but we will continue to do all we can to provide each of our employees with a positive working environment." ↵
↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.