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.
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.