John Walsh asserts a love triangle in Deadspin coverage of ESPN
Deadspin reporter John Koblin's been aggressively reporting on ESPN, and ESPN writer Lynn Hoppes' alleged "Wikipedia plagiarism," in a series of items recently.
And today, ESPN executive vice president John Walsh offered some speculation as to why, while visiting a University of Maryland Sports Journalism Class. A student who was there reported the remarks on Twitter:
@richarddeitsch I asked John Walsh in class about Koblan/Hoppes feud. Says it's over a girlfriend dispute— Mark W. Sanchez (@MarkWSanchez) December 5, 2012
The accusation that Hoppes stole Koblin's girlfriend was news to us. We know Koblin. We also know his boyfriend, Bennett Madison.
"It's confusing. And, obviously, I assumed it was a joke," Koblin told us over Gchat when we asked him about the incident. "But I spoke to the kid who asked the question in the class and he told me there was a 'zero percent' chance it was a joke. He said Walsh was agitated by the question. [Walsh] also said that Hoppes' plagiarized work had been removed. It hasn't and it's been several months now. And I thought that was troubling! Why would he pass along that (theory?) to his class -- a journalism class! -- is absolutely baffling."
And the charge that Deadspin has never broken any news?
"I mean, I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's out to lunch," said Koblin. "But you know, Roger Ailes expressed regret through an intermediary when he told a class an incorrect fact about The New York Times. I guess this is a good moment to see if Walsh has any Ailes in him."
A spokesperson for ESPN was not immediately available for comment when we called the network's communications department. We'll update if we hear back.
UPDATE: Koblin confronted Walsh over the phone. Here's what he had to say.