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Arash Markazi Exits Los Angeles Times

“In mid-July, The Times began formally investigating the accusations as Vice News reported specific examples of plagiarism against Markazi.”

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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. 

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.

Sports Online

Dave Portnoy Offers Pat Beverley ‘Blank Check’ To Join Barstool

“Just say how many zeros and guarantee us once a week, you are hired.”

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Minnesota Timberwolves player Pat Beverley turned heads with his comments about Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul after the Suns were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs.

Beverley told Mike Greenberg and Stephen A. Smith on Monday that he thinks Paul is a “traffic cone,” due to his poor defense and that on nights he knows he’s playing Paul he’ll have a nice steak dinner and wine the night before. He said he’s in bed by 8 p.m. and doesn’t want to hear from his mom or girlfriend if he’s playing Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

Pat’s comments got the attention of Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy. Portnoy said Monday he liked Beverley so much that he would hire him to do a podcast for Barstool.

“If Pat Beverley is a Barstool fan and he’s watching this, he has a blank check. You name your price for a podcast, and we will hire you — no questions asked,” Portnoy said. “Just say how many zeros and guarantee us once a week, you are hired.”

Portnoy made the push to sign Beverley to a podcast deal as the company seeks to scale back the number of podcasts it produces. Barstool CEO Erika Nardini announced the decision to cut shows last week.

No word if Beverley has responded to Portnoy’s offer.

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Women Downloading Sports Betting Apps Faster Than Men

“Mobile sports betting apps saw a massive increase of over 4.6 million new female users in 2021. That represents a 115% increase, year-over-year.”

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The sports betting space saw a surge of new participants come into the realm last year. The fastest growing population? Women.

According to data compiled by Global Wireless Solutions, a mobile insights consulting firm, new female participation in the online sports betting market is nearly doubling the pace of their male counterparts. In their findings, mobile sports betting apps saw a massive increase of over 4.6 million new female users in 2021. That represents a 115% increase, year-over-year. New male users were up too from 2020, coming in at a 63% increase in 2021.

These very large spikes start to make the $4.3 billion made in sports betting revenue in 2021 seem like just the beginning.

Some of the numbers can be explained by the sheer volume of new available legal bettors. In 2021, five states launched online sports betting (Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Virginia and Wyoming).

This year stands to see even more of an increase with several more states implementing online sports betting (New York came online in January) and adding to their already legal retail offerings or at least deep into negotiations attempting such a feat as soon as possible.

Global Wireless Solutions also found the most effective sportsbook to bring new female users into the fold was by far and away FanDuel. That company signed up 1.7 million new female users while DraftKings attracted an estimated 900,000 new female customers. Men, according to GWS, still outpace women by 250% as a consumer base.

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Mike Francesa: Chris Russo Will Be On My Podcast

“When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

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WFAN legend Mike Francesa is settling into his new podcast opportunity with BetRivers, and has left the door open for a reunion with his longtime colleague and friend Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

Francesa was responding to questions on his show, with the newest episode out Monday, when he said he would be able to book Russo for an appearance down the road.

“Listen, I’ve gone on Dog’s shows a couple of times. I could definitely get Dog as a guest one time,” Francesa said.

The last time the two shared a stage and microphone was back in March at the BSM Summit. Francesa said he will make sure whenever Russo does come on, it will be at a time that makes the most sense.

“We will do that at an opportune time,” he said. “Maybe right before the football season or maybe late in the baseball season. When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

Whenever the reunion happens, best believe it will be a must-listen. It will mark the first time the two have been on a podcast together.

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