One month after Arash Markazi was placed on paid leave by the Los Angeles Times, his year and a half tenure with the paper came to an end amid accusations of plagiarism.
A longtime sports columnist and Los Angeles native, Markazi announced his resignation from The Times in an Instagram post Friday. Markazi was graceful in his exit and called working for the LA Times a “dream come true,” making no mention of the plagiarism allegations. A non-disparagement agreement prevents him from commenting further.
In mid-July, The Times began formally investigating the accusations as Vice News reported specific examples of plagiarism against Markazi. The report also stated members of the paper’s sports staff campaigned against their colleague, sending a letter to management which claimed plagiarism and improper use of social media by Markazi.
It’s important to note that while Markazi is being accused of plagiarism, none of the accusations include stealing work from other journalists. In each instance of plagiarism laid out by Vice News last month, they were all either examples of Markazi recycling his own work or pulling a sentence from a press release to provide information such as ticket prices or contractual numbers.
In the case of recycling his own content, Vice News provided two columns from Markazi, one from ESPN in 2018 and the other from the LA Times last year.
For an ESPN column in 2018, Markazi offered the following description of watching March Madness at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas:
“… 40,000-square-foot ballroom on the fourth floor, complete with 12 22’x12′ HD projection screens, a center bar surrounded by 16 more HD monitors, a hardwood basketball court and a dedicated on-site sportsbook. Admission to the party, which included an open bar for 13 hours, went for $225 each and sold out on Thursday and Friday. The party attracted more than 6,000 customers over the first three days of the tournament.”
One year later, Markazi provided an almost identical description of the hotel for his column with the LA Times.
“… 40,000-square-foot ballroom on the fourth floor into a giant “man cave” complete with 22 22-foot-by-12-foot HD projection screens, a center bar surrounded by 16 more HD monitors, a hardwood basketball court and a dedicated on-site sports book. Admission to the party, which included an open bar for 13 hours, went for $225 each day and sold out on Thursday and Friday. The party attracted more than 6,000 customers over the first three days of the tournament.”
Markazi recycled his own content in offering statistics for the Cosmopolitan Hotel. But he fact checked and adjusted the information as shown by the additional ten 22-foot-by-12-foot HD projection screens that were added from 2018-2019. It was recycled details and information, not even an opinion or idea.
A similar instance occurred in 2016 when Tom Kludt, then of CNN, noticed Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press gave an opinion of Colin Kaepernick which paralleled a 2003 column he wrote about Manhattanville College basketball player Toni Smith, who turned her back to the American flag during the national anthem to protest the Iraq War. This after Albom was suspended for a short period by the paper in 2005, for fabricating a column which described two NBA players as being in attendance for an NCAA Final Four game even though they weren’t there.
Neither incident led to Albom parting ways with the Detroit Free Press.
While LA Times staffers were also reportedly critical of Markazi’s social life and social media presence, the paper seemed supportive of his reach when they sent him to the Super Bowl in 2019. The intent of the trip was to “experience Super Bowl week in South Beach with Arash Markazi as your guide.”
“I’m going to be reporting this trip in real time at @LATimesSports on Twitter and also on latimes.com/sports,” Markazi wrote ahead of the 2019 Super Bowl where he was on assignment with the purpose of giving LA Times’ readers an inside look at the event’s parties.
Vice News also reported updates were recently made to the examples of plagiarism from Markazi’s LA Times columns in question.
For context on those columns, Markazi mentioned Clayton Kershaw’s nonprofit on Dec. 16, 2019, he then referenced and wrote their mission statement, “…seeks to serve vulnerable and at-risk children living in L.A., Dallas, Zambia and the Dominican Republic.”
The Aug. 7 update as noted by Laura Wagner gave attribution to Kershaw’s charity for use of their mission statement.
Markazi’s actions can certainly be construed as lazy or corner-cutting, but the headline of “plagiarism” is essentially journalistic suicide and implies stolen work. With that in mind, it’s fair to ask what was more damning for Markazi as he exits his dream job – his actions, or the co-worker campaign against him.
Rece Davis: College GameDay Doesn’t Have Power Over CFP Committee Public Thinks It Does
“Do we have the power to make people evaluate their stance? I think so. I think that’s probably fair.”
The power of words can be an interesting thing, especially when an opinion someone has can cause them to rethink things. College Gameday is where the fan goes to get a preview of the Saturday games as well as hear thoughts from the panel on the state of college football, but does it have an influence on some of the decision-makers in the sport and what kind of power does the show actually have?
On the College Gameday podcast, Rece Davis talked about how he was asked on a show how much power he thinks the show has. He does think what someone like Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, or Pat McAfee says can make them rethink their opinion, he doesn’t think it can sway the playoff committee for example.
“I was asked a while ago — I forgot what show it was on and they asked if I thought if we as a show, we as commentators who have been covering the sport being part of the growth and popularity through television of the sport — if I felt that we have any power. My response was ‘Define power.’
“If you mean do I think that someone says something on College GameDay, whether it’s me and certainly if it’s Kirk, Desmond, Pat, or Stanford Steve (all of whom played), if we say something on there, does it give the power breakers or decision-makers something to think about and go hmm? I would say the answer is yes, there is power.”
Davis says he thinks an opinion can make people re-evaluate their stance on an issue, but he also doesn’t think people will completely change their thought on a key issue in the sport based on what someone says on television.
“If you mean by power that we make phone calls, dictate to somebody, or have such influence over grown, successful human beings that they are going to align themselves with whatever opinion was offered on GameDay or any other ESPN platform, then no I don’t think we have that power.
“Do we have the power to make people evaluate their stance? I think so. I think that’s probably fair, but I also think that all of those people in the committee room and all the conference commissioners are accomplished human beings. They didn’t rise to the level of where they are by being so weak-spined that they are going to listen to Mr. Television Announcer and decide that’s where they are going to align themselves.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at [email protected].
FanDuel Parent Company Sets NYSE Listing Date
The date takes place just before Super Bowl LVIII.
Flutter, the parent company of FanDuel, has revealed the date in which it plans to start being listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Trading on the stock will begin on January 29, the day after the AFC and NFC Championship Games, which will reveal the matchup for Super Bowl LVIII. The company will be found on the ticker as FLUT.
Flutter plans to delist from the Euronext Dublin exchange and keep a separate listing on the London Stock Exchange, according to Front Office Sports.
95% of FanDuel is owned by Flutter.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Endeavor Partners With TNA Wrestling to Launch Streaming Service
“We are proud to partner with Endeavor Streaming on this initiative, and we look forward to continuing to provide our fans with the absolute best in new, classic and exclusive professional wrestling content…”
TNA Wrestling has announced it has entered into a new deal with Endeavor to launch a streaming service.
While previously utilizing the Impact Wrestling brand, Anthem Sports & Entertainment has revived the TNA Wrestling brand as part of a relaunch ahead of the new streaming service which will debut on Friday, January 5th.
“This is truly an incredible opportunity for us as we forge into an exciting new chapter of the TNA legacy,” said TNA Wrestling President Scott D’Amore. “We are proud to partner with Endeavor Streaming on this initiative, and we look forward to continuing to provide our fans with the absolute best in new, classic and exclusive professional wrestling content, available to them anywhere, anytime, on their favorite devices, when TNA+ launches on January 5.”
“Wrestling fans are some of the most passionate in the world of sports and entertainment and TNA+ is the perfect ‘always-on’ personalized OTT service to help TNA build a deeper relationship with its global audience,” added Endeavor CCO Pete Bellamy. “We’re looking forward to working with TNA to deliver the best streaming experience for wrestling fans.”
Price points are $9.99 per month or $95.99 per year for subscribers. An additional tier is available for $219.99 per year which will include the four “tent-pole” pay-per-view events.
The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise in the wrestling world. Impact Wrestling previously held partnerships with the AEW and New Japan wrestling promotions. Meanwhile, Endeavor recently completed its merger of WWE and UFC in a more than $20 billion deal.
Barrett Media Writers
- BSM Writers4 days ago
Jim Boeheim Made a Career Out of Treating Media Poorly, But Now Wants In on the Action
- BSM Writers3 days ago
Brian Murphy is Preparing to Write His Next Chapter at KNBR After Layoffs Ended ‘Murph and Mac’
- Sports TV News5 days ago
Booger McFarland: I’m A Rare Person in This Industry Because I Don’t Take Criticism Personally