Sports Reporter Suspended For Plagiarizing ‘S.I.’ Column

By: Joe Strupp

The Daily Herald of Everett, Wash., has suspended a sports reporter for lifting passages from a Sports Illustrated piece that were used in a June 3 column.

In “An apology to readers,” printed Thursday, Executive Editor Neal Pattison revealed the deception by John Sleeper, saying the writer admitted taking portions of a 2002 S.I. column by Rick Reilly.

“On June 3, this newspaper carried a column describing the travails of a girls? basketball coach. Editors are deeply disturbed to learn that parts of the column were taken from a 2002 piece that appeared in Sports Illustrated,” the apology stated. “This deception violates The Herald?s commitment to earning and maintaining community trust. It also violates journalistic standards: It is never acceptable to take credit for work that is not our own. We must be forthright about the matters we report as well as the sources of our information.”

He added that, ” ? Sleeper has acknowledged that his column, ‘Trust Me, Coaching Girls Is a Whole New Ballgame,’ included passages borrowed from a column written by Rick Reilly for Sports Illustrated. Sleeper has been placed on suspension pending an in-depth review of the matter.

“The Herald has apologized to Reilly for the unauthorized use of his work. We also apologize to our readers and promise to do everything possible to prevent this kind of failure in the future.”

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