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Deadspin vs. ESPN
What Gawker’s sports blog gained and lost from publishing sex rumors about ESPN employees
 

“ESPN learned last week that, to tweak the adage, hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned,” says Richard Perez-Pena in The New York Times. When A.J. Daulerio, the editor of Gawker sports blog Deadspin, decided that ESPN’s PR team had lied to him in August when he asked about the Steve Phillips sex scandal, he decided to “just unload the inbox of all the sordid rumors” he’d heard about the sex lives of ESPN employees, married or otherwise.

That’s a pretty “childish” response, says Chris Littmann in The Sporting Blog. Daulerio humiliated “a few talking heads and a few middle and upper management types” out of spite, and without even trying to separate rumor from truth—as if co-workers sleeping together even rises to the level of news. Worse yet, it makes all us sports blogs look foolish and unserious. So ESPN lied to you. Deal with it, Daulerio: “You win some, you lose some. You move on ...”

Daulerio admits his inbox unloading was a “temper tantrum,” says Steve Krakauer in Mediaite, but he adds that it helpfully highlighted ESPN’s flimsy code of personal conduct. And going down the “slippery slope” of publishing unconfirmed rumors was one big step back from mainstream legitimacy for Deadspin—and maybe all sports blogs—but it was also a step toward “huge traffic numbers.”

 

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