Los Angeles Sports Writer Accuses ESPNews Anchor Of Plagiarizing His Column (UPDATE)


Sports writer Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register has accused Will Selva of swiping lines from his recent column about the Lakers and using them to open a segment on Highlight Express. In an angry post on the Register’s Lakers Blog, Ding thanks Selva for liking his column but asks him to “try not to plagiarize it next time.”

Here’s how Ding’s column began:

“Christmas isn’t over yet, Lakers fans.
The big game, it turns out, will be the game after the supposed Game of the Year.
In San Antonio on Tuesday night, the Lakers will be out to give themselves and their fans the much-needed gift of hope.”

This is what Ding is alleging Selva stole. When I first read that, my initial assumption was that it must have been merely an example of parallel thinking, the phenomenon that leads two late night comics to hear that Sarah Palin killed a deer in late December and go “Hmmm, Palin killing deer around Christmas…Palin killing Rudolph!” It’s just the most logical way to take it. If the Lakers have an important game right after Christmas, it only makes sense that multiple people would connect those two facts. After all, I can’t even count how many news articles last week made some mention of a “Christmas miracle” to tie things together. Hell, I alone probably wrote about 30 of them.

So, I used the magic of TV Eyes to check out what Selva actually said and, sure enough, around 11pm of the 28th (two days after Ding’s column), it’s the exact same three sentences word for word. If it had just been the phrase “Christmas isn’t over yet,” then I would say Ding’s just being paranoid, but this seems a little much to be pure coincidence.

UPDATE: And more than a coincidence it was. Selva has been suspended for an indefinite period and has apologized to Ding according to a statement from ESPNews. From Fanhouse:

“In a statement issued by ESPN, Selva said he had been researching stories from local newspapers, and came across Ding’s column. Selva said he cut and pasted the story into his script, but forgot to write his own words.
‘I made a horrible mistake and I’m deeply sorry. I did not live up to my high standards or ESPN’s,’ Selva said in the statement. ‘I sincerely apologize for my sloppiness, especially to Kevin Ding, viewers and colleagues. In my 15 years in broadcast journalism, nothing like this has ever happened and I will make every effort to ensure it won’t happen again.'”

Check out the clip from ESPNews below:

(h/t Poynter)

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