In the world of sports journalism just about any scoop is fair game as long as it’s sourced well, and that includes scoops about a supposedly “untouchable” coach like Alabama’s Nick Saban.
What you can’t get away with, especially with a high-profile coach like Saban, is making up quotes, though — even in jest. That’s something ESPN Senior Writer Mike Wise is learning today after pretending to make up quotes about Saban talking about race relations. Oh, he also made up a quote on Saban’s thoughts on the Armageddon.
Wise deleted his tweets, but of course, they’ve been preserved forever thanks to screen shots and the power of the internet. College football writer Kevin McGuire passed them along:
The first tweet on Saban’s thoughts on race relations likely confused some people, because there was no indication that it was fake. By the time Saban is “commenting” on Armageddon during practice it’s quite obvious that these are made up, though apparently not everyone was able to understand that.
Here’s Wise apologizing later:
This perhaps wouldn’t have been such a big deal had Wise made up Saban talking about orange juice or something trivial. But race relations? That’s a huge social topic in the United States right now and it’s a powder keg of emotion.
Dragging Saban into that when he likely would never talk about it for real was not a good look from Wise.
It looks even worse when remembering that Wise once made up news that Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended. At the time, he said he wanted to prove how fast misinformation could spread on the internet, but that didn’t stop the Washington Post from suspending him.
With a history of simply making up sports news, it will be interesting to see how ESPN reacts to it. Yes, it was a joke, but it was terribly executed.
(H/T The Spun)