The Deadspin Debacle

Deadspin, owned by Gawker Media, is one of the world’s most widely read sports blogs. It has recently garnered attention for a controversy involving sports media giant ESPN.

Source: Gawker Media

Source: Gawker Media

Deadspin allows readers to submit tips on possible sports stories. In August, they received a tip saying that ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips was having an affair. Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio spoke with ESPN’s PR department and was basically told not to publish the rumor because it was inaccurate.

As it turns out, Phillips was in fact having an affair with a 22 year old production assistant. This upset Daulerio, who felt as if ESPN had deceived him by not confirming the rumor. He proceeded to post every tip involving ESPN that Deadspin had ever gotten, many of which were sexual allegations, regardless of its validity.

Chris Littmann of The Sporting Blog says that Daulerio’s post embarrassed Deadspin and showed that the site doesn’t care whether anything it posts is true even if it causes damage to a person or company. Not only that, but he says Deadspin could cause readers to question the credibility of other blogs simply by association. It is often the first sports blog mentioned by the casual fan, causing the sports blogosphere as a whole to be generalized by its actions.

James Brown of the Phoenix Pub presents some other implications of the Deadspin debacle. Like Littmann, he thinks that all sports blogs will be unfairly stereotyped due to one’s error in judgement. Sports bloggers could be looking at more limited, if not restricted media access on game days, he says. They should also do more fact checking, blog with integrity, and think twice before publishing rumors.

3 Responses to “The Deadspin Debacle”
  1. Beth Feather says:

    It is sad to see grown men (and possibly women too) acting in this way. For Daulerio to get upset and act out like a child would is ridiculous. It is also sad that we care so much about an affair topic. It is a sports blog for tips on sports stories, no? So why are these people so concerned with a personal story. Just seems wrong to me.
    I hope this incident does not shed a negative light on all sports blogs since as you said, Deadspin is a popular sports blog.

    • Adam Dove says:

      It is odd that they are concerned with such personal, gossip type stories regarding ESPN employees. Another article I read referred to Deadspin as “The TMZ of Sports.” And you’re right, it could give more serious sports blogs a bad rep because of this incident.

  2. Stefan Wisnoski says:

    I was just thinking what Beth put into words. Why on earth is an affair story so important to a blog which is supposed to be about sports? Sure it involves ESPN, (“The worldwide leader in sports”), but it doesn’t involve any actual sport or an athlete.

    Deadspin has done some serious damage to itself with its actions… I’m curious if the site’s traffic has increased or decreased as a result?

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