Buster Olney in 2019. Buster Olney in 2019. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports.)

Many sports media X/Twitter accounts have been hacked over the years. The latest there is a hack on ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney Monday. But this hack was somewhat unusual compared to many recent ones, as it featured not just plugs for cryptocurrency and other apparent scam tweets, but also fake “news” reports on a lifetime ban for Shohei Ohtani, a season suspension over COVID-19, the Baltimore Orioles relocating to Las Vegas, two trades that didn’t happen, and more, including even “I HATE METS.” Those tweets were deleted, but Front Office Sports screengrabbed some of them:

Here are closer looks at those tweets, via those FOS screengrabs:

Tweets from Buster Olney's hacked X/Twitter account.
Tweets from Buster Olney’s hacked X/Twitter account. (Front Office Sports.)

The account also posted some explicit language and much more. Many of the tweets were deleted, but a couple of replies remained up as of 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Sam Connon has more on this in a piece at Sports Illustrated‘s FanNation “Fastball” site:

Olney’s account was hacked around 5 p.m. ET, leading to a handful of posts that featured misinformation and engagement farming tactics. The perpetrator sent out 10 tweets from Olney’s account over the next 20 minutes, some of which included NSFW language, off-kilter videos and seemingly random GIFs.

From there, the hacker started reporting fake news.

It started with a trade that supposedly involved the Chicago White Sox sending All-Star outfielder Luis Robert Jr. to the Philadelphia Phillies. Then, they said the New York Mets had agreed to trade shortstop Francisco Lindor to the Oakland Athletics.

The lies got more outlandish from there.

Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani had apparently been banned from baseball due to gambling, with a trial and potential life sentencing set for later this summer. The Baltimore Orioles were then said to be the team relocating to Las Vegas, allowing the A’s to stick around in Oakland.

There have been plenty of social media hacks before, including one for Olney’s ESPN colleague Jeff Passan in 2022 and one for Canadian sports network Sportsnet this weekend. But the combination of fake news and hacking here was interesting. We’ve often seen insider impersonation for fake news, but a direct hack is more unusual.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.