Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Deadspin: Why Is An ESPN Vice President Spreading Rumors That I’m Straight?

Walsh was a guest at a University of Maryland class taught by former ESPN ombudsman George Solomon. According to Maryland senior Mark Sanchez, who was in the class, the students were permitted to ask two questions apiece: one related to something they liked about ESPN, and another related to something they didn’t like.

“I was very annoyed,” Sanchez told me, “because a lot of it was, like, ‘I love 30 for 30,’ or, ‘I love X about ESPN.’”

So, Sanchez decided to take a different tack: He asked about Lynn Hoppes. Hoppes, in case you’re unfamiliar, is the ESPN.com senior writer who plagiarized from Wikipedia at least a dozen times. Months after our initial posts about the plagiarism, his stories remained unchanged. So we asked three respected media critics—Jack Shafer, Dan Okrent, and David Carr—to weigh in as well. “If I were them,” Okrent told us, “I would be embarrassed.”

Back to Sanchez: “I was actually the last person to ask a question, so there wasn’t much time left,” he told me. “And I brought you up and Deadspin and said, ‘What response do you have to this?’ He cut me off in the middle and said the whole Hoppes-and-you situation revolved around a girlfriend dispute—that Hoppes had apparently stolen your girlfriend a while back. And all the Hoppes information you guys posted about was months and months old and it only resurfaced because of that controversy.”

My … girlfriend? Well, about that. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I am gay, gay, gay. So gay. Don’t believe me? Ask my real-life human-being boyfriend!

But obviously Walsh was joking, right? “There was a zero percent chance he was joking about it,” Sanchez said. The room had gone silent, according to the student, and Walsh seemed “physically annoyed” by the line of questioning.

ESPN is that one constant in our lives as sports watchers, but the men and women who run it are some weird people…

Tripon Posted: December 06, 2012 at 03:04 AM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: espn, rumors

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. ArrogantLizard Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4318626)
Given that it's Deadspin, how accurate is this?
   2. JJ1986 Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4318640)
If I was a really crappy quarterback I wouldn't be wasting my time hounding ESPN editors about plagiarism.
   3. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4318646)
That account is completely incomprehensible to me.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4318653)
If I was a really crappy quarterback I wouldn't be wasting my time hounding ESPN editors about plagiarism.


Whereas I can't think of a more productive way for Mark Sanchez to spend his time.
   5. DA Baracus Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4318661)
Nobody makes mountains out of molehills quite like Deadspin.
   6. ArrogantLizard Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4318671)
Nobody makes mountains out of molehills quite like Deadspin.


I suppose--but it's not like ESPN doesn't have a history of shoddy behavior.
   7. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4318674)
"Oh yeah? Well I had sex with your wife!"
   8. zonk Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4318679)
Not that there's much that rates above Deadspin when it comes to credibility and honesty -- but yeah, I'd put Deadspin over ESPN.
   9. DA Baracus Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4318680)
I suppose--but it's not like ESPN doesn't have a history of shoddy behavior.


It wasn't a defense of ESPN.
   10. jmurph Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4318690)
Not that there's much that rates above Deadspin when it comes to credibility and honesty -- but yeah, I'd put Deadspin over ESPN.


Oof, not for me. Deadspin coming out against plagiarism has me rethinking my stance on plagiarism. Maybe that Stephen Glass guy wasn't so bad after all.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4318697)
Not that there's much that rates above Deadspin when it comes to credibility and honesty -- but yeah, I'd put Deadspin over ESPN.




Oof, not for me. Deadspin coming out against plagiarism has me rethinking my stance on plagiarism. Maybe that Stephen Glass guy wasn't so bad after all.



Deadspin vs. ESPN is the sports media version of the hypothetical game between the Yankees and Al-Qaeda.

   12. JJ1986 Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4318703)
The 'plagiarism' in question appears to be a guy copying facts from Wikipedia. Troubling maybe, but not the same as stealing from other authors.
   13. DA Baracus Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4318709)
The 'plagiarism' in question appears to be a guy copying facts from Wikipedia. Troubling maybe, but not the same as stealing from other authors.


They've also done that.
   14. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4318711)
My … girlfriend? Well, about that. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I am gay, gay, gay. So gay. Don’t believe me? Ask my real-life human-being boyfriend!


Why is there a Mike Piazza quote in the middle of that excerpt?
   15. andrewberg Posted: December 06, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4318809)
That account is completely incomprehensible to me.


Yes, they really bolstered their case that ESPN paid a writer who lifted things from Wikipedia by calling them out on an unrelated inaccuracy about personal lives.
   16. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4318821)
To many ambiguous pronouns.
   17. Poster Nutbag Posted: December 06, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4318853)
Nobody makes mountains out of molehills...


"Well, that's quite a trick. You try that sometime."
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4318888)
The 'plagiarism' in question appears to be a guy copying facts from Wikipedia. Troubling maybe, but not the same as stealing from other authors.


It's exactly the same thing - Wikipedia doesn't write itself.
   19. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 06, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4318894)
I read that excerpt a couple of times...I still have no idea what they're talking about. Who's gay? Who plagiarized? WTF?
   20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4318909)
I read that excerpt a couple of times...I still have no idea what they're talking about. Who's gay? Who plagiarized? WTF?


ESPN writer Lynn Hoppes plagiarized a bunch of stuff, and when he got caught, ESPN totally ignored the situation.

ESPN VP John Walsh gave a lecture and Q&A at the University of Maryland. One of the students asked him about the Hoppes thing, and in response Walsh said that the situation had been resolved (which it hadn't) and that the Deadspin writer (who is gay, apparently) who first uncovered the story was only pushing it because the Deadspin writer and Hoppes were involved in a personal romantic dispute over a woman.
   21. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4318915)
If you're still confused, the original post about the plagiarism (with examples) is here.
   22. DA Baracus Posted: December 06, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4318924)
Deadspin has had a thing against Hoppes for a while now, because they're children and because Hoppes is a lazy naive gossip columnist. A match made in heaven.
   23. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 06, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4318936)
Who are these people? Who cares? Do any of them write about baseball?
   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4318960)
Who are these people? Who cares?

ESPN is one of the leading sports media entities in the world, and they're majority owned by the same company that owns ABC, one of the largest news media entities in the world, among other things. The fact that their initial response to documented plagiarism is to ignore it, and then to make up personal attacks against those who exposed it, is worth caring about.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4318965)

Oof, not for me. Deadspin coming out against plagiarism has me rethinking my stance on plagiarism. Maybe that Stephen Glass guy wasn't so bad after all.

Stephen Glass was caught making up stories at The New Republic (and other publications). You're probably thinking of Jayson Blair, who was caught plagiarizing at the New York Times.
   26. madvillain Posted: December 06, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4318982)
That account is completely incomprehensible to me.


No kidding. I can't even feign enough interest to parse it out. Hell, Mitch Albom made up stuff that never happened and printed it in an actual fish wrap and was given a slap on the wrist at most.

Some 3rd rate ESPN.com writer plagarising Wikipedia (oh the horror plagiarizing an open dictionary!) doesn't even rate.

ESPN is one of the leading sports media entities in the world, and they're majority owned by the same company that owns ABC, one of the largest news media entities in the world, among other things. The fact that their initial response to documented plagiarism is to ignore it, and then to make up personal attacks against those who exposed it, is worth caring about.


The flipside is that ESPN is a huge organization I can hardly get my outrage meter spiked that one of their thousands of writers plagiarized Wikipedia. If Chris Berman publishes a book and half the passages are lifted from a 1988 copy of the Baseball Abstract get back to me.

   27. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4318992)
(oh the horror plagiarizing an open dictionary!)


People spent time writing all that stuff, in the understanding that people who wanted to copy it would give them appropriate credit, and he broke that contract (and violated the site license) by stealing their work and passing it off as his own. Just because it's "free" doesn't mean that it's any less despicable for a writer to do that. Stealing is stealing.

I can hardly get my outrage meter spiked that one of their thousands of writers plagiarized Wikipedia.


It's actually two separate issues in one - the initial theft by the writer, and then the decision by management to do nothing to address the situation for months, after it was repeatedly called to their attention.
   28. Toolsy McClutch Posted: December 06, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4319007)
It's funny, I never ever go to Deadspin unless it's linked from here (and even then rarely), it really is crap isn't it? I feel like the "story" was recited by my ten year old son. Vlad seems to have nailed in 20, but really who cares. Some editor had a few drinks before a lecture and was unprepared for the question, likely confused it with something else a said stupid things.

To me, the only real concerning thing is the denials. But on a scale of 1-10 of concern, where 1 is I'm running low on milk, this is a .085.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: December 06, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4319016)
Or Hoppes is also gay and stole the writer's boyfriend but Walsh didn't want to out him. :-)

Regardless, if true (this is not exactly a well-documented story), that's a weird way to respond to a charge of plagiarism. The proper response would be "Hoppes didn't plagiarise" or "we have investigated and ..." or "we are investigating ..." If you then want to add "this appears to be a personal vendetta..." or some such, go ahead.
   30. jmurph Posted: December 06, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4319027)
Stephen Glass was caught making up stories at The New Republic (and other publications). You're probably thinking of Jayson Blair, who was caught plagiarizing at the New York Times.


Damn you with your fact-checking! You're right, though. I was thinking of Glass because the movie about that situation was surprisingly solid. The only problem is that Peter Sarsgaard played Charles Lane, and this causes confusion for me because I like Sarsgaard, so I frequently forget that I dislike Charles Lane until I read him. Oooh, a Charles Lane column! Oh wait, he's the worst.
   31. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4319031)
The proper response would be "Hoppes didn't plagiarise" or "we have investigated and ..." or "we are investigating ..."


That's part of why it's a story - at the college event, Walsh said that the articles had all been taken down, but at that point, they hadn't been. From the article:

"So then I said, 'Putting that aside, what about [the Hoppes plagiarism examples]?'" Sanchez said. "[Walsh] said that they had scrapped all the articles that found to be plagiarized."

Not true. The stories had not been updated. When he talked to me, Walsh claimed he hadn't said that.
   32. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 06, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4319036)
This plagiarism is obvious, no investigation required. Very bad "journalism". But almost all the examples are just recycling boilerplate sentences about somebody's background. The alternative is to take Wikipedia's boilerplate sentences and rephrase them in your own words. It's not like he's taking credit for actual research or creative writing that he didn't do.
   33. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4319093)
It's not like he's taking credit for actual research or creative writing that he didn't do.


Just because it's not particularly interesting or stylistically distinct writing doesn't mean that he's entitled to take credit for it. It's still someone else's work.
   34. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4319113)
This plagiarism is obvious, no investigation required. Very bad "journalism". But almost all the examples are just recycling boilerplate sentences about somebody's background. The alternative is to take Wikipedia's boilerplate sentences and rephrase them in your own words. It's not like he's taking credit for actual research or creative writing that he didn't do.

That is not the only alternative - he could also attribute the quote to Wikipedia. And frankly, if all he's doing is rephrasing something from Wikipedia, he should probably cite them anyway, even if he's not lifting a direct quote.
   35. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 06:26 PM (#4319114)

It's actually two separate issues in one - the initial theft by the writer, and then the decision by management to do nothing to address the situation for months, after it was repeatedly called to their attention.

This.
   36. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 06, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4319117)
I was thinking of Glass because the movie about that situation was surprisingly solid.


Yes. For a B-level cast and (what could have been) a very dull topic (fake stories in a magazine I've never heard of), I was VERY surprised to like this movie as much as I did. I only watched it because it was the only (non-romantic) movie left on the shelves at the local video store when my wife sent me out to get "something to watch".

(Remember those days? Going to the video store? It seems so quaint now.)
   37. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 06, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4319125)
ESPN could settle this controversy in 2 minutes, by editing Hoppes' Wikipedia page to say he had in fact hetero-cuckolded the Deadspin guy. On the moon.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: December 06, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4319178)
Just because it's not particularly interesting or stylistically distinct writing doesn't mean that he's entitled to take credit for it. It's still someone else's work.

I dunno. How many different ways are there to say "Mike Piazza played in the major leagues from 1992 to 2007"? Do we need to start referencing b-r for every stat? Should I be citing b-r and AROM every time I use bWAR? I feel pretty guilty for plagiarizing McCoy in all my "Alfonso Soriano is available" posts.

I didn't follow the Hoopes thing and I assume what he did was worse than this but there's got to be a certain amount of "fair use" when it comes to boilerplate factual stuff.

Or, here's Wiki on ARod:

"Rodriguez was drafted first overall by the Seattle Mariners in 1993."

Where's their cite?

"He was signed by Roger Jongewaard right out of high school."

Now, c'mon, the writer found that little factoid somewhere. (Why it's relevant is beyond me).

Yet ...

"Rodriguez then split most of 1995 between the Mariners and their AAA club, the Tacoma Rainiers.[9]"

That is sourced.
   39. LooseCannon Posted: December 06, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4319179)
Deadspin vs. ESPN is the sports media version of the hypothetical game between the Yankees and Al-Qaeda.


I root for Al-Qaeda any time they go up against New York. Which is the Al-Qaeada analogue, Deadspin or ESPN?
   40. bigglou115 Posted: December 06, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4319211)
I root for Al-Qaeda any time they go up against New York. Which is the Al-Qaeada analogue, Deadspin or ESPN?


Umm... maybe could have been phrased better?
   41. Howie Menckel Posted: December 06, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4319217)

Yeah, for some reason we're a little sensitive about that sort of thing in this metro region.

   42. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 07, 2012 at 12:07 AM (#4319224)
I root for Al-Qaeda any time they go up against New York.

What an assh0le.
   43. Bhaakon Posted: December 07, 2012 at 05:27 AM (#4319276)
South Park says 22.3 years before we can make tasteless jokes about terrible events, so halfway there.
   44. Chip Posted: December 07, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4319309)
   45. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 07, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4319347)
Who are these people? Who cares? Do any of them write about baseball?


QFT
   46. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 07, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4319361)
I dunno. How many different ways are there to say "Mike Piazza played in the major leagues from 1992 to 2007"?


Deadspin weakened its case, IMO, by citing instances where Hoppes had apparently done some rewriting on a few Wikipedia articles. There were plenty of examples in which he had obviously cut and pasted full paragraphs - including keeping Wikipedia's typos. By including the paraphrased stuff, it gives Hoppes and ESPN an opportunity to say, as Walt says, that there just aren't that many ways to write this simple factual information.

What I don't understand is why ESPN decided it was worth it to keep this guy around, ethical issues aside. I'd never heard of Lynn Hoppes till yesterday, so maybe he brings something more to the table, but there's no particular value in having a writer who simply cut-and-pastes articles from the Internet.
   47. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 07, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4319387)
but there's no particular value in having a writer who simply cut-and-pastes articles from the Internet.

Darn, I guess I'm stuck in IT until I get a new Plan B.
   48. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: December 07, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4319403)
I dunno. How many different ways are there to say "Mike Piazza played in the major leagues from 1992 to 2007"? Do we need to start referencing b-r for every stat? Should I be citing b-r and AROM every time I use bWAR? I feel pretty guilty for plagiarizing McCoy in all my "Alfonso Soriano is available" posts.

I didn't follow the Hoopes thing and I assume what he did was worse than this but there's got to be a certain amount of "fair use" when it comes to boilerplate factual stuff.

Or, here's Wiki on ARod:

"Rodriguez was drafted first overall by the Seattle Mariners in 1993."

Where's their cite?

"He was signed by Roger Jongewaard right out of high school."

Now, c'mon, the writer found that little factoid somewhere. (Why it's relevant is beyond me).

Yet ...

"Rodriguez then split most of 1995 between the Mariners and their AAA club, the Tacoma Rainiers.[9]"

That is sourced.


Whether a writer needs to cite every fact obviously depends on the format. Academic articles are different from popular science writing which is different from news writing.

As for wikipedia, their goal is to be as true and accurate as possible while being open. Citations are absolutely necessary for these goals and citing the most basis facts is the basis of it. That being said, it doesn't always happen, which explains the inconsistency in your examples from A-Rod's page.
   49. radioman Posted: December 07, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4319472)
I agree that is squabble is petty but I think the story has some relevance if it's true, becuase of the way we perceive someone's sexuality being misconstrued by a public face and executive at a major media outlet. The deadspin writer (who I don't know or follow) might actually be offended that the ESPN guy is going around saying he is srtaight. If the sexuality was switch, and an ESPN executive falsely claimed that a writer fabricated a story based on a homosexual love triangle vendetta, we might be more outraged. Am I being oversensitive about how being mistaken as straight is not as bad as being mistaken as gay in our society.

   50. Srul Itza Posted: December 07, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4319521)
I think the gay-straight issue is irrelevant. What is relevant to me is the suggestion that, in order to protect Hoppes, an ESPN VP told an audience that the whole thing was generated by jealousy over a woman, when it wasn't true.

Even if it was true, it was a dick move to bring it up. If it wasn't true, then the guy is a liar, or someone who can't keep his facts straight -- neither of which, of course, disqualifies him from a high position at the World Wide Leader in Sports.
   51. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4319681)

#38 in journalism there are basically two things that are proprietary -- the research/reporting and the prose. When it comes to content, the fact that A-Rod was the #1 pick in the draft is widely known and reported and including that in your article even if you didn't hear it from a primary source is usually ok. However, if you take information that is considered more proprietary, like a scoop that just came out 10 minutes ago, you're supposed to cite whoever first reported it. IIRC, ESPN is often criticized for failing to credit other publications for their scoops or quotes, which may be one reason why people are making a big deal out of this.

Also, if someone does the work of assembling a biography, and you just take all of the information and rephrase it, that's also not kosher even if you're not copying word-for-word. Sometimes there are gray areas but the examples Deadspin gave were pretty black-and-white.

Someone's prose is also generally considered proprietary. If Hoppes can't think of another way to write something without copying it word-for-word, then he should just quote it. Too bad he's not a better writer.
   52. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4321223)
you just take all of the information and rephrase it, that's also not kosher


It's been a while but AFAIK and have experienced, if one amends your phrase to say "much or some of the information...." then it's still plagiarism according to academics, ombudsmen of journalism, and other turf-protectors. It's gone too far, to the point that every "a", "the", and "and" has to have its own citation and the most basic facts about anything or anyone are considered proprietary.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Darren
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogWhat's Wrong With Baseball?
(11 - 2:01am, Aug 30)
Last: Select Storage Device

NewsblogWatch a Japanese baseball player try to hit a 186 mph fastball (Video)
(20 - 1:31am, Aug 30)
Last: Born1951

NewsblogRockies' Troy Tulowitzki bent on playing shortstop: "I will retire before I move"
(16 - 1:30am, Aug 30)
Last: Select Storage Device

NewsblogIndians Sign Russell Branyan
(12 - 1:29am, Aug 30)
Last: Lindor Truffles

NewsblogJesus Montero gets heckled by Mariners cross checker during rehab stint
(48 - 1:10am, Aug 30)
Last: Rennie's Tenet

NewsblogRobothal: Tension growing between Astros' manager, GM
(38 - 1:01am, Aug 30)
Last: Norcan

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 8-29-2014
(42 - 12:42am, Aug 30)
Last: boteman is not here 'til October

NewsblogAdam Jones says he was joking about 'airport' comment at social media event
(15 - 11:47pm, Aug 29)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread August, 2014
(801 - 10:58pm, Aug 29)
Last: The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB)

NewsblogJonny Venters Tears UCL, Facing Third Tommy John Surgery
(18 - 10:29pm, Aug 29)
Last: BDC

NewsblogFG (Zimmerman): Alex Gordon, UZR, and Bad Left Field Defense
(43 - 10:22pm, Aug 29)
Last: BDC

NewsblogPosnanski: Alex Gordon and the M-V-P chants
(61 - 9:51pm, Aug 29)
Last: SOLockwood

NewsblogAngels beat Athletics, Oakland protests game after obstruction call
(30 - 9:18pm, Aug 29)
Last: Cargo Cultist

NewsblogOT: Politics, August 2014: DNC criticizes Christie’s economic record with baseball video
(6226 - 9:10pm, Aug 29)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip

NewsblogDavid Justice Says Put Barry Bonds in Baseball Hall of Fame Despite Steroid Use Late In Career
(155 - 8:54pm, Aug 29)
Last: Jimmy

Page rendered in 0.2635 seconds
52 querie(s) executed