Football Outsiders writer badly plagiarized by CBS Fort Worth

There's perhaps no worse crime in journalism and really, any field of writing, than plagiarism.  There's no quicker way to lose respect or have a scarlet letter stamped on your work for the rest of your career.  Not only that, it's just wrong.  

Plagiarism can come in all shapes and sizes, but this week brought one of the most blatant examples I've ever seen in sports.  It revolves around Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders and Chris Arnold of 105.3 The Fan and CBS Fort Worth.  Kacsmar wrote an article for Cold Hard Football Facts about Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys being chokers and whether it was myth or fact.  Arnold then copied and pasted the majority of the article (to the tune of over 10,000 shares on social media).  Naturally, the article on CBS Fort Worth has been taken down.  Thankfully, someone tipped off Kacsmar and he wrote about it on his site.  Here were the most egregious examples of plagiarism by CBS Fort Worth and Arnold:

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ARNOLD: Romo has seven straight seasons with a passer rating of at least 90.0 (minimum 200 attempts). Only Steve Young (1991-98) and Peyton Manning (2003-10) have ever done that. Romo’s 95.6 passer rating is fifth all time.

KACSMAR: Romo has seven straight seasons with a passer rating of at least 90.0 (minimum 200 attempts). Only Steve Young (1991-98) and Peyton Manning (2003-10) have ever done that. Romo’s 95.6 passer rating is fifth all time.  

ARNOLD: Like clockwork, Romo had one of his worst moments when the Nielsen ratings were at their highest. His interception late in the fourth quarter with Dallas trailing 21-18 was a killer. All the hard work put in, all the successful drives wasted with one snap.

KACSMAR: Like clockwork, Romo had one of his worst moments when the Nielsen ratings were at their highest. His interception late in the fourth quarter (against that same blitz Washington kept using) with Dallas trailing 21-18 was a killer.

All the hard work put in, all the successful drives were wasted with one snap.

(Deleting the extra paragraph in between really does a great job of covering up this theft.)

ARNOLD: Romo’s clutch track record is too good to only remember the bad plays. His records at comebacks and game-winning drive opportunities put him right there, compared to reputation, with today’s current top quarterbacks, especially the likes of Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers.

KACSMAR: Romo’s clutch track record is too good to only remember the bad plays. His records at comebacks and game-winning drive opportunities put him favorably, compared to reputation, among today’s active players (minimum 10 games), especially the likes of Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers

The worst thing in all of this is that those are only 3 examples out of 16 examples where Kacsmar spotted plagiarism.  Almost 2,500 words were written by Arnold and almost all of them were stolen directly.  The station, the website, and the writer have to be greatly embarrassed and good for Kacsmar to stand up for his work being stolen.  

Even more bizarre though was this peculiar Twitter exchange between the two authors where Arnold tried to shamefully (or sarcastically) shower Kacsmar with endless praise and invite him onto his radio show:

What an embarrassment.  First you plagiarize someone then you want to have them on as a guest on your show?  Excuse me while I vomit up my breakfast.  Another shining light of sports talk radio.

Plagiarism is never ok and the fact that Arnold couldn't even directly apologize to the author he stole from makes the situation even worse.  And the fact that CBS Fort Worth apparently approves of this unethical practice is another step into the abyss.  Cyberspace is a big place, but here's a tip to everyone who chooses to write words there – don't steal someone else's work.

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Managing Editor of Awful Announcing and award winning sportswriter. Bloguin consigliere. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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