ESPN Got Pranked Yesterday

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On Sports Center yesterday, ESPN reported that both Mike Green and Donald Brashear of the Capitals had been suspended. Everyone in DC scrambled to confirm the story for the next hour, but ESPN suddenly retracted their original report by saying just Brashear had been suspended. However, that wasn't the end of it. From there, Sports Center aired two more retractions before finally saying that just Brashear would be heading to a hearing at 1pm. You can read about the whole day at the Capitals Outsider.

Crazy day for Sports Center but it's not necessarily their fault. They were prank called by someone posing as a Washington Post reporter, and went with the information provided by the prankster....

"I was on my way to the rink this morning and my buddy called me and was a little upset I was missing Game 7," said Capitals defenseman Mike Green, a finalist for the Norris Trophy given to the NHL's top defenseman.

"I had no idea what for. It kind of caught me off guard."

ESPN SportsCenter hosts Josh Elliot and Hannah Storm relayed that Green and teammate Donald Brashear were suspended under a "Breaking News" banner Monday at 9:52 a.m.

Within a half hour, ESPN retracted the story.

"Our news desk received the call from someone representing themselves as a Washington Post reporter," ESPN spokesman Dan Quinn said.

"We didn't follow our own fact-checking procedures and mistakenly reported the story.

"We apologize for the error."
That's just so random. In the pantheon of prank calls, that's probably the worst one ever. Why someone would pose as a Washington Post reporter for kicks is beyond me, but whatever makes you happy.

Prankster dupes ESPN with bogus report on NHL suspension (USA Today)


I used to work for a newspaper...we had people calling in with fake information all the time. Sometimes it was just rumors they were calling in...sometimes it was just pure BS. I can't explain why people do it but it happens, a lot.

For ESPN to not factcheck something that important is pretty embarassing. Nice job by ESPN to spin it as a "prank" instead of them f-ing up epicly. No way that should have ever made that to air.

Sean OLeary said...
Apr 28, 2009, 2:33:00 PM  

Wow !! ESPN really had an off day yesterday. They opened the 11 ET Sportscenter will Stu and Tim Legler standing in front of the big highlight monitor with graphics saying 'Denver Charlotte' with a picture of the Nugget logo and the Hornets logo. Ummm .... Didnt no one in ESPN notice that Hornets havent been in Charlotte for quite a few years now.

Unknown said...
Apr 28, 2009, 2:47:00 PM  

Really? You can't think of a reason somebody would pose as a reporter to try to get ESPN to publicly report that one of the best players on a team was mysteriously suspected for a game seven?

Seriously though, does anyone know if the line moved?

Down Goes Brown said...
Apr 28, 2009, 2:49:00 PM  

It really brings into question ESPN's integrity. How many other stories does ESPN run everyday that they run without checking the validity? Fact checking people, it isn't that hard.

Anonymous said...
Apr 28, 2009, 2:49:00 PM  

the prank call is funny

the lack of follow-up by The Leader is funnier

credibility denied

questionmark said...
Apr 28, 2009, 4:15:00 PM  

Yeah, they spent all day including Mike Green's name in the reports, but he was in no danger of missing game 7, unlike Shoane Morrison who was under investigation, but ESPN never even said his name.

Bazooka Jones said...
Apr 28, 2009, 4:38:00 PM  

ESPN had more important things to worry about. Like "Where did all these unicorns come from?"

BF said...
Apr 28, 2009, 5:25:00 PM  

Further proof that since Versus got the NHL TV rights, ESPN couldn't give 2 squirts of rat piss about the league. Talk about lazy "journalism"!

bceagle91 said...
Apr 28, 2009, 5:29:00 PM  

Seriously, what was up with the My Little Pony stuff yesterday?

Zach said...
Apr 28, 2009, 6:46:00 PM  

Seems like somebody had an inkling that ESPN wouldn't check their facts...and were proven right.

Something also tells me that had this been an NFL, or NBA, MLB (or any other league ESPN pays to broadcast) they would have spent a bit more resources checking. OOPS.

Anonymous said...
Apr 28, 2009, 9:26:00 PM  

When you get a network with a cadre of 'full-of-themselves' talent (hello, Stu Scott. Do you have to be in EVERY ESPN promo spot?), people are only too happy to strike back. These pranks are great to see because this network and its haughty, outspoken people deserve some serious dressing down.

Chris said...
Apr 29, 2009, 7:51:00 AM  
Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2009, 8:37:00 AM  

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