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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Gammons Apologizes for 'Inexplicable Oversight'
2005-04-14 10:59
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Peter Gammons said today on ESPN.com that he had meant, in a sidebar to his column Wednesday, to source Steve Henson and the Los Angeles Times in referring to Henson's feature on Milton Bradley, and apologized for the "inexplicable oversight" that this sourcing did not occur:

I thought Henson's piece was so poignant and interesting, I included a reference to it as a "sidebar" in my column. I was obviously referring to that newspaper piece, and commented on the exchange by writing, "Fascinating. Bradley is a very good person who has long dealt with demons, and this acceptance of responsibility may signal that he is on the right path. Everyone who knows him hopes so."

When I filed the column, however, I inadvertently and mistakenly omitted credit and sourcing to the Los Angeles Times. I thought I had sourced the Times as I wrote the column, and had not. Obviously, I should have. It was brought to my attention late Wednesday night by ESPN.com editors, who removed the "sidebar" while seeking clarification. I immediately admitted the mistake and asked that it be corrected.

I had intended to call attention to what I considered a very powerful story, and made an inexplicable oversight. I apologize to Steve Henson, the L.A. Times, and to ESPN.com readers.

This is a good thing. Again, the point of my original piece was not to accuse Peter Gammons of plagarism - although inevitably, some people were going to draw that conclusion despite my best explicit intentions - but to point out that there was a significant problem on ESPN.com. Steve Henson worked very hard to write a good story based on his one-on-one interview with Milton Bradley. He got Bradley to talk openly about his anger issues. ESPN, by posting text from that interview without attribution or proprietary rights, was taking credit for Henson's work. Just because this happened doesn't mean it wasn't an accident. But just because it was an accident doesn't mean it shouldn't have been corrected. And so it has been. Good for Gammons for handling this so graciously. And good for Henson for producing a good story.

Comments
2005-04-14 12:14:44
1.   Eric Enders
I think we can all agree with that. And I hope it encourages ESPN to more carefully edit Gammons' column, which has needed it for a long time.
2005-04-14 12:17:34
2.   ryu
I doubt Gammons is really dumb enough to try to plagiarize the LA Times. But what I don't get is: why were there modifications to the version that appeared on ESPN.com?

Is that normal? Why wouldn't Gammons just post the piece verbatim and then cite the source? And can Gammons post the piece in its entirety without permission from the Times?

Someone please enlighten me!

2005-04-14 12:20:40
3.   Eric Enders
Two or three years ago I would have agreed with your first sentence, ryu. Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair convinced me otherwise.
2005-04-14 12:27:49
4.   zappala
Regarding #2:

No, even if you cite the source, you can't post the piece in its entirety without permission. What you can do is summarize the article, and/or provide a small excerpt that is cited. Many bloggers do this, though I sometimes think they cut and paste too much text and should rely more on summarizing. This is getting into fine distinctions ... what is clearly wrong is (a) reproducing all, or substantially all, of a piece without permission, and (b) copying the text (even with rewording it) without citation.

2005-04-14 12:57:52
5.   Bob Timmermann
Despite the Stephen Glasses and Jayson Blairs of the world, I'm not inclined to think that Gammons was engaged in deliberate plagiarism and thinking he could get away with it.

Look, it took Jon about, what, 5 minutes to figure it out?

2005-04-14 13:00:53
6.   FirstMohican
Eric... I don't see the similarity between the manufactured material of Stephen Glass and the reprinted material of Peter Gammons.

Glass obviously had a reason to conjure up bogus material: to get recognition. What's Gammons' reason for "stealing" material?

Say Gammons knowingly failed to cite Henson... Gammons includes the sidebar, and at best, enlightens some readers about Bradley. Is that reward worth the risk of plagiarizing material?

I really don't see any reason for skepticism.

2005-04-14 13:08:42
7.   Dodgerkid
Eric--

Your Nero Wolfe impression is to be commended. Gammons is probably a blatant thief.

2005-04-14 13:16:32
8.   Steve
My favorite Nero Wolfe is "In The Best Families" then "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."

(crickets chirping)

2005-04-14 13:17:29
9.   Eric Enders
Bob and Mohican,
All I was trying to say by invoking Blair and Glass is that writing cheats have very large cojones. I emphatically do NOT think Gammons is an intentional cheater; I do, however, think that if somebody had already decided to plagiarize, the brazenness of plagiarizing a widely-read source like the Times probably would not stop them. Does that make sense?
2005-04-14 13:20:06
10.   Bob Timmermann
OK, that makes sense. Didn't Blair plagiarize stuff from newspapers in such "small" towns as San Antonio?

I noticed that Dodger Thoughts is now mentioned on the Romenesko blog for the first time!

2005-04-14 13:20:48
11.   Dodgerkid
Let's say I wrote a book about ballparks, or the World Series, and I saw a tempting newspaper article from seventy years ago, who's to know if I were to borrow liberally? It makes sense. The same argument could be used for any author.
2005-04-14 13:23:36
12.   Dodgerkid
My point is, Gammons would have to be a complete idiot to copy an article from the day before. No one is that bad or crazy. It's obviously an oversight. Saying that he is plagiarizer is pretty much libelous unless you can back it up with evidence. Obviously there will be greater scrutiny for his work from now on, and I will be very surprised to see any further evidence of plagiarism.
2005-04-14 13:23:58
13.   Linkmeister
Nero Wolfe fans who are also Dodgers fans? I knew there was a reason I hang out here!

Very good Wolfe site here: (I aided a little in the "What's Wolfe Reading" section).

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/8907/nero.html

2005-04-14 13:34:02
14.   Sam DC
Ah, I once tried to find that Nero Wolfe brownstone with its orchid gardens and ample beer supply and Archie Godwin perched on the stoop as a younger lad. Was told by a NYC cabbie that the address is somewhere in the river . . .

didn't realize anyone still read those books.

2005-04-14 13:36:28
15.   jtshoe
There is another good article on the Dodgers on ESPN today. Eric Neel's page 2.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neel/050414

I always thought more people hated the Giants than the Dodgers though. Could be living in LA for 10 years.

2005-04-14 13:39:26
16.   Steve
"Carla" Steve came out when A&E cancelled the show.
2005-04-14 13:47:28
17.   Bob Timmermann
From my experience, a lot of people hate the Dodgers. I would say that they are pretty close to being the most-hated team in the NL. Atlanta may be close because people are tired of them winning all the time.

If it weren't for Barry Bonds, I doubt most people would give the Giants a second thought.

2005-04-14 13:53:34
18.   Marty
I've known a lot of people who hated the Dodgers because they loathed Lasorda. Others hated them because of Garvey and his "clean" image.
2005-04-14 13:59:04
19.   Eric Enders
Yeah, people in general definitely hate the Dodgers more than the Giants. Not sure why, really, other than Tommy, and the fact that we've won a lot.
2005-04-14 14:11:30
20.   Sam DC
I think Atlanta gets a certain amount of scorn for the Chop.

Did people chant Beat LA at Dodger games before they started chanting it at Laker games? I don't think so, but not sure.

2005-04-14 14:11:35
21.   Mark
I don't know why, but Neel's comment about people bagging on Kent just makes me laugh like crazy.

"Jeff Kent's a club-footed, claw-handed malcontent with a bad mustache,"

2005-04-14 14:15:48
22.   Eric L
I've always been under the impression that the "Beat LA" thing started with the Lakers.

I used to love when Chick Hearn would complain about it. To paraphrase Chick "Like we haven't heard that one before".

2005-04-14 14:19:05
23.   Spageticus
Thanks Jon, now Gammons will never write another column in defense of the Dodgers. His next column will probably blast them for last year's trade-deadline moves.
Just kidding, good catch. I am for more responsible journalism.

Speaking of responsible journalism (although it isn't quite journalism) I found Dan Shulman's play-by-play/moderation very fair and almost pro-Dodgers on ESPN2's Bums coverage last night. He balanced Joe Morgan and even No.1 Reds fan EK.

2005-04-14 14:24:03
24.   Linkmeister
How old is Neel, I wonder? I mean, a reference to "Born Free?" "When Joy [Adamson] raised Elsa."

Pretty good column.

2005-04-14 14:24:03
25.   Jim Hitchcock
Never a huge Lasorda fan, even though I recognized the somewhat satirical intent of his
blowhardiness.

And I admit I always felt a bit of scorn for Garvey precisely because he worked just too damned hard at that squeekly clean image. It just never rang true to me. Just another would be politician on the make.

I think Marty's right about the two being lightning rods for non Dodger fans.
But neither one of them subtracted one iota from my love of the Dodgers.

2005-04-14 14:30:13
26.   Marty
I think Beat L.A. started with the Lakers-Celtics in the mid-eighties. At least that's the first time I remember hearing it. Though, now that I think about it, it may have been when they played Philly in '81.
2005-04-14 14:31:49
27.   Eric Enders
I just hope the friggin' Giants fans do it now when the Angels play there too.
2005-04-14 14:32:19
28.   Sushirabbit
I don't know if any of you have ever read this, but I found it again while looking for stuff about Bill Meyer stadium:

I am not a Dial "fan" and sometimes find him annoying myself, but it's just funny that Gammons is in the following, too:

http://tinyurl.com/67f3w

2005-04-14 15:03:08
29.   LetsGoDodgers
I for one am happy Gammons dealt with it quickly and took responsibility for it.

Just my opinion, but I've noticed his east-coast bias has mellowed over the years, making him a much more enjoyable read. I also appreciate how much of his writing is dedicated to praising players doing well, not Plaschke-ing them while they are slumping. While I rarely learn anything "new" from his writings, at least I'm entertained.

2005-04-14 15:06:22
30.   Suffering Bruin
Awright, guys, time for the Cliff Claven impression...

"In actuality, the derisive albeit catchy chant of 'Beat L.A.' did not, contrary to popular belief, start with any L.A. team, per se.

It actually started in the 1982 NBA season with the playoffs between the 76ers and our own beloved Boston green. As our boys were going down to final and ignominious defeat, the great fans of beantown saluted their conquerors by chanting 'Beat L.A.', thus providing a kind of send off wish to the Sixers who would soon encounter the Lakers, who as you may or may not recall were already a secured in the championship round.

Now, if you want to know about the mail delivery of playoff tickets at that time, that's another interesting story..."

(end Cliff Claven impersonation)

2005-04-14 15:07:42
31.   Eric Enders
Agree with everything said in #29.
2005-04-14 15:08:54
32.   Eric Enders
30 was terrific too. But I think SB would be hard-pressed to end the Claven impersonation, even if he wanted to. ;)
2005-04-14 15:30:47
33.   Suffering Bruin
For what it's worth, I fully forgive Peter Gammons for what I truly believe was an innocent mistake. It was a big mistake which is why it needed correcting and he did so.

By comparison, Mitch Albom, IMHO, wrote an apology that did not go near far enough. I think Albom still has a lot to answer for.

2005-04-14 16:25:46
34.   Icaros
RE #30: That's great Cliff, but I'm still waiting to hear where Hee Seop Choi fits in to all of this. Did this "Beat LA" genesis coincide with the first time Choi lifted the family wagon over his head or something?

He hit his first home run last night (I was there; it really happened); I think he'll be sad if people don't care about him anymore.

2005-04-14 16:39:24
35.   Eric Enders
I think he thinks we're not gonna notice if he skips posting "Fact of Choi" today.

Wrong.

2005-04-14 16:42:34
36.   Jim Hitchcock
No pressure, SB.
2005-04-14 17:36:13
37.   gvette
What's ironic is that Henson's Bradley article is probably the only Dodger article in the Times in the last six months WORTH plagarizing.

Bruin;

Now that the mighty Choi has found the seats, are you abandoning him for someone more in need of your help?

Can we now look forward to Suffering Bruin's "Fact of Grabowski", or "Bako Bits"?

2005-04-14 17:41:13
38.   LetsGoDodgers
RE #37:

"Bako Bits"??? High-larious!

2005-04-14 18:04:53
39.   Eric Enders
Other possible titles for Fact-of-Choi type features:

It's a Schmoll World
Werth Knowing
Wunschtime (Jon, this is yours, right?)
Tuesdays With Elmer
Giovanni Know About Carrara?
Fhact of Yhency
D.J. Jazzy Houlton

2005-04-14 19:29:18
40.   Daniel Zappala
Izzy or Izzy Not?
Do you wanna be my Valentin?
The Saenz of the Times
The Lowe Down
Lunch with Uncle Milton

and of course

Dodger Depo

2005-04-14 19:57:11
41.   Steve
You can't have The Grassy Schmoll. That's Jerry's.
2005-04-14 21:00:25
42.   Bob Timmermann
If they get hurt, we can hope for a report from the Kent/Drew Medical Center.
2005-04-14 21:18:46
43.   Ben P
I'll second Bob on this, Jon: Congrats on getting linked on the Romenesko site. You are now an official media insider. Next I'd like to hear your thoughts on a federal shield law and how it might apply to sports bloggers. Or something...
2005-04-14 22:03:12
44.   molokai
#39 & #40 - thanks, great stuff. Favorite site keeps getting better.
2005-04-15 06:56:08
45.   Sam DC
I'm laughing so hard that concerned people are now coming down to my office wondering if I'm OK.

. . . the first time he lifted the family wagon over his head.

. . . reports from the Kent/Drew medical center.

too much

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