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ESPN's Paige Plagiarize Other Writer?

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand sent Denver Post and Around the Horn contributor Woody Paige a question on Twitter yesterday asking Paige if he’d lifted quotes from a months’ old Ourand story and used them in his Post column on Sunday without attribution.

In his April 4 article, Ourand wrote about ESPN creator Bill Rasmussen.

Many executives that came in contact with Rasmussen during ESPN’s infancy reference that can-do spirit. Paul Maxwell, a cable industry pioneer who founded several industry trade publications, said Rasmussen’s faith in ESPN provided a stark contrast to how others viewed the startup network at the time.

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.”

In Paige’s column, he appears to lift quotes and a description of setting directly from Ourand’s story without attribution. In college, this practice went by several names: plagiarism; stealing; revolutionary time-saver. It depends who you ask.

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.”

Ourand somehow caught wind of this and sent Paige a question on Twitter: “Hey @woodypaige. Did you really talk to Paul Maxwell? Or did you lift that quote from SBJ? Bad form to not list source.”

He followed up by posting a link to his original April 4 article.

Paige has not yet responded.

(H/T to SportsByBrooks)

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