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Rick Reilly Plagiarizes His Own Column [Updated]

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, ESPN’s columnist Rick Reilly loves himself. A lot. As Deadspin points out, Reilly’s latest piece is chock full of self-plagiarism.

Reilly’s new column, “Don’t act like you’ve been there,” is about how he appreciates when athletes celebrate. So is his 2009 column, “You just won the US Open! Act like it!” That’s fine. But the self-plagiarism is so bad that we are actually worried about Reilly’s mental health. If you know the guy, maybe call him?

Here are just a few examples of Reilly’s copy and paste skills.

2009 column:
If I won a U.S. Freaking Open, I’d go absolutely electroshock, three-alarm, bat-guano nuts!

2014 column:
My point is, if I’d just won $1.1 million zops in a PGA Goddang Tour event, forget about my first win in 239 tries, I’d go absolutely electro-shock, three-alarm, bat-guano nuts!

2009 column:
If I won the U.S. Open, I’d pick up the flagstick and fire it like a Tommy gun at the crowd.

2014 column:
I’d pick up the flagstick and fire it like a Tommy gun at the crowd.

2009 column:
When the guy in the blazer came out with the winner’s check, I’d snatch his toupee off and fling it like a Frisbee.

2014 column:
When the guy in the bad plaid jacket came out with the winner’s check, I’d snatch his toupee off and fling it like a Frisbee.

2009 column:
I’d go to Ricky Barnes’ hotel room at 3 in the morning and be very sincere and contrite and go: ‘Sorry to come by so late. But I just wanted to apologize for my behavior this afternoon on the 18th green. I really want to take this opportunity to say how sorry I am that (pause) you’re such a gag artist!’ Then I’d hold up the trophy, polish it on my butt and say, ‘Take a look at how shiny it is! Really, look close. What do you see? A loser!!! Don’t worry, though. I hear the food’s great on the Nationwide Tour!’ 

2014 column:
I’d go to Bubba’s hotel room at 3 in the morning and go, ‘Look, I just wanted to say I feel terrible that … you’re such a gag artist!’ Then I’d hold up the trophy, polish it on my butt, hold it up to his face and go, ‘Look how shiny it is! What do you see in there? A loser!!! Don’t worry, though. I hear the food’s great on the Fuzion tour!”

As you can see, there are some slight similarities between the columns.

We’ve reached out to ESPN for comment on this and Reilly’s sanity. We’ll update when we hear back.

Update (2/12, 9:25 am):
Josh Krulewitz, ESPN’s VP of communications, told FishbowlNY “We are reviewing the situation with Rick.”

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