Thursday, March 13, 2008

The World Wide Leader Ruined My Pants

By Stealing My Headline and Writing Their Own Version Of My Story
(scroll down to the bottom of the story for updates throughout the day of the ways in which we are fighting the powers that be)

While enjoying my first-cup-of-coffee, illicit, at-work, internet-wandering I happened to stop by Page 2 at ESPN.com. And, what do I see there? I see this. And, my heart skips a beat. I spill hot coffee on my crotch in such a way that it will look like I pissed my pants. The heart skipping and coffee spilling are because they essentially copied my story from yesterday.

The title and subtitle of my story posted on this very website are:
"Mission Accomplished" Redux
The One-Year Anniversary of Evident Progress


And, this morning the front page of Page 2 on ESPN.com reads:
Mission Accomplished!
As the Knicks celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Isiah Thomas contract extension, Page 2 takes a look at how far the team has come


Coincidence? Is it a coincidence that hours after my story got picked up by Deadspin and The Big Lead, two very, very prominent sports blogs, that the writers at Page 2 were struck with an idea eerily similar to mine? I don't think so.

Is it a coincidence that Patrick Hruby* wrote a fly-by-night version of my story from yesterday I don't think so.

Um, I actually really, really angry about this. Angrier than I am at Isiah, in fact. These guys are well paid and well placed and all they had to do was give a guy's website one little shred of credit for getting this ball rolling and calling this anniversary to their attention. But, nooooooooo. They've got write half-assed versions of what I spent hours and hours writing through the night on Tuesday. Yeah, that sounds way better.

And this is on top of Daily Dime blurb about the Knicks that I mentioned in today's Starting Five post, which also reads suspiciously similar to my post from yesterday.

UPDATE: Friends and family of WWOD? have taken to their keyboards and we're taking over the comments page on the offending article. Get over there and let them know not to mess with Oakley.

Some highlights of the comments so far:
samlikessports (3 minutes ago)
Hmm, this looks strangely like something I just read at www.whatwouldoakley do.com. Too bad the writers at ESPN can't come up with their own material. Or maybe we should commend them on their web surfing abilities?

vincecartercantsleep (3 minutes ago)
I saw the Oakley website's story on Deadspin last night. Good stuff. These guys at Page 2, man. Who can you trust? Not Vince Carter. And not Mr. Hruby or his boss.
www.whatwouldoakley do.com

bobbdy123 (8 minutes ago)
See the original article here: www.whatwouldoakley do.com

KennySkyWalker789 (10 minutes ago)
Yeah, this copy-cat stuff is lamer than Kenny Sky Walker not being invited to judge this year's dunk contest. Go check out the original Mission Accomplished story over at www.whatwouldoakley do.com.
It's one thing to riff on something else or link to something else that someone else wrote but it is another thing entirely to take what you like from it without giving any credit. Free What Would Oakley Do?

bobbdy123 (13 minutes ago)
Wow. This is such a hilarious, smart idea. Too bad ESPN stole the idea from someone else and called it their own. Nice.

robford2k5 (25 minutes ago)
styuiop wrote: "yay for espn stealing ideas from small blogs!"
Did they really? I have to see that link.

styuiop (27 minutes ago)
yay for espn stealing ideas from small blogs!

And, those are literally just the five at the top of the page! Let's keep it up.

UPDATE #2:As the WWOD? comments piled up like Knickerbocker losses the editors at Page 2 over at espn.com have replaced the above Mission Accomplished Picture with another story and hid this one a bit more. The picture that now sits on the side bar of the screen also has the words Mission Accomplished removed and has placed a new headline above the revised picture. The new headline reads "Double Standard?"

I'm not sure if that refers to the article or the way in which ESPners always slam bloggers for being unprofessional while they themselves are actually peaking at our homework. I'm not sure.

Oh, wait that headline refers to a different story altogether by Scoop Jackson and is unconnected to the now wordless image it accompanies. Still, the placing is ironic. Don't you think?

UPDATE #3: Those folks in Bristol seem to be scrambling. They've now replaced the headline "Double Standard?" with "Go New York Go!" This happened in a matter of minutes since the last update. Maybe someone realized that they screwed up by messing with Oakley?

Or, maybe they just hate Scoop Jackson and wanted to bury the link to his article? Or maybe the read my post about the ironies of their last try?

UPDATE #4: The minions of the Leader continue to scramble and stutter. They have now removed the story and the entire Page 2 tab from that middle section of the espn.com home page where they have images from three to five top stories rotating. As the WWOD? legal counsel put it, "You actually making the Leader run around and change their website. Mission Accomplished?...eh"

UPDATE #5: And, the beat goes. The Leader is heading for the hills and taking their ill-gotten story with them. There is now no link to the Hruby story anywhere on the home page of espn.com. It has even been replaced on the smallish Page 2 box on the lower left of the screen. I don't know how much of that is the good-ship Justice and how much is them having newer stories. But, I'm pretty sure that the USS Oakley is very much responsible for that story's comments page seemingly being deactivated. Well done.

UPDATE #6: Though the article that started this and the plagarized headline are now buried deeper than Hoffa on the WWL's website, the comments page is up and running again if anyone still feels like speaking their mind about all this. FYI.

*[Ed. note: And, actually I like his story. It's funny and if my article's title and sub hadn't been slapped on the Page 2 front page and worked into the blurb on the Dime then I would surely have been linking to it this afternoon and kept my suspicions about the timing coincidences and similarities in idea to myself. In fact, I probably would have been pretty psyched that I was on Deadspin and The Big Lead and had a story idea not so different from one of the pros at Page 2. However, the "Mission Accomplished" stuff is just to egregious to ignore.]

Thursday's Starting Five

1. The Houston Rockets. At this point it is no surprise. They won again last night. That makes 20 wins in a row for the Houston Rockets. McGrady scored 28 and set the pace. And the best part about this win? It was ugly. It was a grinder. They fought for this one against the Hawks, who are harder to beat than you think. This sort of a gut-check performance is a great sign that the Rockets actually know what they’re doing in becoming only the 3rd team ever to win 20 in a row. As long as they can take care of Charlotte tomorrow night then the entire country will get to watch them put the streak on the line against the visiting Lakers on Sunday on ABC. I can't wait.

2. Chris Paul, David West and the New Orleans Hornets. These two stars and their team steamrolled the defending champion Spurs last night, 100-75, in New Orleans. Chris Paul had 26 points and 17 assists while West –returning from an ankle sprain – was a beast inside. He had 29 and 10 and was every bit Tim Duncan’s equal, if not his better. The Hornets have split four games with Los Spurs and you have to think that they have just as good a chance as anyone to dispatch them in the postseason. I would love to watch that series. And, yes, I still think Chris Paul should be the MVP this year.

3. Greg Oden. Number-one in your draft logs and number one in your hearts, Oden finally stepped on the floor yesterday to practice with the Blazers. If he can stay healthy, which is an IF bigger than he is, this team is going to the most hyped team on the earth heading into next season. And, you've got to think that they're going to get a lottery pick, albeit a late one, this year too!

4. The Portland State Vikings. By defeating Northern Arizona last night in the Big Sky Conference Tournament the Vikings have secured their first-ever bid to the Big Dance. Deonte Huff scored 17 to lead the way for PSU to the victory at the Rose Garden.

5. Bill Simmons. The most hyped and most harpooned Boston fan not named Matt Damon or Ben Affleck has actually been sprinkling some earnest writing amongst the Real World references lately. He wrote a truly heartfelt piece yesterday about the murder of a promising football star. Between that story and his coverage of the Sonics fiasco he seems to be regaining some of his old form. Perhaps he realized that no one wanted to read endlessly about a guy agonizing over rooting for the three best teams in sports.

The Sixth Man. Deadspin. Noted author, Illini fan, raconteur and the Merriweather Lewis of these here sports blogs, Will Leitch over at Deadspin shared the story of the Mission Accomplished Year with the wider world. It was a thrill to get home from work last night and see that picture of Isiah and Steph headlining the world’s most popular sports blog. As of this morning over 8,000 people had viewed the story and over 600 had commented on it. Granted, most of the commenting has nothing to do with the Knicks and is merely inside-jokey-commenter-twin-talk.

Benched. Shelly Duncan. That slide yesterday was ridiculous. I’m all for guys playing hard in Spring Training and had no problem with the collision at home plate the other day but that slide was just flat-out dangerous. All I could think of while watching it was Eduardo (striker from Arsenal) getting his leg cut in half.

Also Benched: The Worldwide Leader. For stealing my lines. The Daily Dime page on ESPN.com is a part of my daily routine. I dig it. In every way. I like that it catches me up on the night’s action. And, I like the variety and caliber of writers that they feature. However, I’m a bit upset with them this morning. Particularly with Andrew Ayres (who I think is the guy who writes the "best/worst from the night before" stuff each day) since I believe he ripped me off.

WEDNESDAY'S WORST
New York's last 366 days: Seems like just yesterday, but it's the one-year anniversary of the Knicks announcing that coach Isiah Thomas earned a contract extension because the team had shown "evident progress." With a 91-88 win over the atrocious Heat, the Knicks improved to 23-61 since Mission: Accomplished was announced.


Perhaps I’m just paranoid but this sure seems to be cribbed from my story or the Deadspin post linking to my story from yesterday. Doesn’t it? Both the small detail of it being 366 days rather than 365 and the fact that the Mission Accomplished phrase is used a la Bush landing on the USS Lincoln in 2003. Both the timing (since there was nothing in the Dime yesterday about the ignominious anniversary) and the word choice make it seem like I gave them this copy. And, I know that this is how the world spins. The main stream guys and gals cherry pick material from the no-stream guys and gals. It’s the circle of life. But, I’m just saying can’t you give a guy’s website a plug if you’re going to steal his lines?

Bad Beats Worse. Barely.

Heat let Knicks win, 91-88

The Miami Heat currently have the worst record in top-flight American professional basketball. And, apparently they are quite keen on defending that status. They have benched their best player, Dwyane Wade, for the rest of the season and their coach, the tactician formerly known as Pat Riley, has announced that he will likely stop attending games. They are first at being worst and they did not take it lightly that the Knicks were challenging them for this position heading into tonight's game. At tip-off the Knicks had lost seven on the bounce and had garnered more attention for their ineptitude than the categorically worse Heat had.

Nevertheless, all was going according to plan tonight in Miami. For both teams. The Knicks established a seven point lead heading into the fourth quarter and stretched that lead to 10 points with a little less than eight and a half to go. It seemed like everyone was going to win. The Knicks would win. And the Heat would lose. Which meant that they actually won in the race for the #1 draft pick.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the ping pong balls. The Heat accidentally caught up with the Knicks. Even though they were trying to lose, the Heat staged some sort of default come back and found themselves within three points with a minute and a half remaining. A timeout was called by the Knicks, but the real action was in the other huddle. Pat Riley must have been beligerant at his players. He immediately removed 2 of the 5 players responsible for the comeback and sent those still in the game out with the appropriate instructions. I'm paraphrasing here, but I'm pretty sure he just said, "Lose!"

I guess that is what he said mostly based on the way his team played over those last 90 seconds. It was clear they fix was on when Mark Blount threw up an ill-advised three pointer with way too much time left on the shot-clock for a guy like Mark Blount to be shooting threes. In fact, the instant before he lofted the shot MSG play-by-play man Mike Breen actually uttered the words "the Heat do not need a three here."

Watching Pat Riley coach the last minute or so of that game I felt like Nick Nolte's character in Blue Chips when he realizes that Tony was shaving points. I didn't believe. I didn't want to believe it. But, when Ricky Davis clearly went into an orchestrated dive roll to allow an inbounds pass to fly over his head, giving the ball back to the Knicks and essentially ending the game, then I knew it. Pat Riley was no better than Tony on this night. In fact he may have been worse. After all, Western still won on the night Tony shaved those points.