‘Woody Plaige’: ESPNer Stole Quotes From Story

Today venerable sports media reporter John Ourand noted from his Twitter account that quotes contained in his April 4, 2011, piece about the early history of ESPN for SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL were “identical” to remarks reported in a Sunday DENVER POST article containing the byline of full-time ESPN Around The Horn personality and Post columnist Woody Paige.

Woody Paige Plagiarism

(Quotes don’t “look identical” they “are identical” - see below)

In his original work, published over two months ago, Ourand wrote:

Maxwell recalls sitting in an Anaheim, Calif., bar with cable industry icon Bill Daniels, who helped convince Getty Oil to fund ESPN in the early years. It was right after Getty had invested in ESPN, probably 1980. Evey, the Getty Oil executive responsible for overseeing the network, approached the duo, with a look of worry on his face. He asked, “Are we ever going to make money?

It was the first thing he asked Bill,” Maxwell said. “Bill knew it would work. We both thought it was brilliant.” 

Paige’s pirated piece, published yesterday, lifts unattributed quotes word-for-word from Ourand’s April 4 story in SportsBusiness Journal, framing the comments with nearly identical context:

In an Anaheim, Calif., bar (near a theme park), Daniels was told by a Getty Oil executive about the venture’s problematical plans. Daniels had persuaded the company to buy a majority share of ESPN.

Stuart Evey was concerned Getty Oil had made a mistake. “The first thing he asked Bill was: ‘Are we ever going to make money?’” Colorado cable pioneer Paul Maxwell said. “Bill knew it would work. We both thought it was brilliant.”

The obvious theft prompted the normally mild-mannered Ourand to confront Paige directly on Twitter today with this Tweet:

Hey @woodypaige. Did you really talk to Paul Maxwell? Or did you lift that quote from SBJ? Bad form to not list source.

Hours later, Paige had yet to respond. Nor had ESPN, despite Ourand’s sterling reputation as one of the most meticulously accurate reporters in the sports media industry.

This isn’t the first time Paige has been accused of plagiarism by a well-respected sports journalist.

ESPN’s own Dan Le Batard reported to readers on the MIAMI HERALD website in 2009 that Paige once ripped off an entire column from him.

During a reader chat on Sept. 14, 2009, Le Batard was involved in this exchange:

Submitted 09/14/09 14:02:46 by Adam from Minnesota

Q: Is Woody Paige a big goofball when he isn’t on Around the Horn? or is it just an act for TV

Answered 09/14/09 14:05:04 by Dan Le Batard
A: no, he’s that….his career has kind of amazed me….my friend call him woody plaige….pre-internet, during a super bowl in miami, i went to ricky jackson’s pahokee home….wrote scene…..described town….had a scene in which ricky was coming home with a big check for his family….a few days later, paige writes the same column….but he never went to the home and he just made up some bait shop and gave some black guy a quote in ridiculous black dialect….this was during denver news wars….the other denver paper called him out on it….even wrote a letter with both columns to the publisher, i think….but it was pre-internet so he never got in trouble…but the people at his paper have to know that he’s pretty reckless

If they (somehow) didn’t know then, they sure do now.

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