Well, it took about an hour, but ESPN.com finally has removed from its servers the five plagiarized paragraphs from the story posted Thursday afternoon by Michael David Smith.
The ESPN.com story is now replaced with a one-paragraph blurb, and it is preceded by this message: “From the editors of ESPNBoston.com: A Thursday night blog post featuring Joey Porter’s comments regarding Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should have been attributed to ProFootballTalk.com. The attribution has been corrected.”
Though we’re desperately trying (and possibly failing) to keep the high road within shouting distance on this one, we’re not sure that the explanation -- which is missing a key word that we’ve yet to hear privately, either -- does the situation justice.
This wasn’t a failure of attribution. It was a five-paragraph, Chris Landry-style cut and paste. As MDS pointed out in an IM exchange, the “ESPN.com staff” who did the cutting and pasting saw fit to remove the italics from the words “Around the League” and to supply quotation marks instead, which shows that this wasn’t a quick and thoughtless error.
Meanwhile, PFT Planet is being heard loudly and clearly, in the comments to our first item on the plagiarism and in the comments to the ESPN.com story.
It also has sparked a minor buzz on Twitter, including an observation from the man whose interview with Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter launched this specific ship. “I’m honored that it was my smack-filled chat with Joey Porter that led to your first plagiarizing,” NFLN’s Rich Eisen said. “Congrats. Now go sic em.”
And, to his credit, our friend Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com -- who was not responsible for the post in question -- acknowledged the matter on his Twitter feed: “I can understand where Mike Florio is coming from,” Reiss said. “He should get an explanation.”
Though the matter has been corrected (and we appreciate that very much), we’re still waiting for the explanation.