FanSided Fighting Gobbler plagiarism

A month after one FanSided network site editor (Barry Hirstius of New Orleans site was let go “for multiple reasons” after “multiple instances of plagiarism”, the Time Inc.-owned FanSided has terminated their relationship with another network site writer over plagiarism. This time, the plagiarism came on Virginia Tech site, and came from JW Gravley, who has since locked his Twitter account.

This latest instance of plagiarism came to light Wednesday when Dane Brugler of CBS Sports’ NFL Draft Scout site posted side-by-side screenshots of his summer prospect report on Hokies’ receiver Isaiah Ford and a FightingGobbler piece posted December 27 by Gravley:

That’s incredibly obvious plagiarism, containing all the same words in the same order (except for one change of “Ford” to “he”), and it’s definitely unacceptable. The FightingGobbler piece has since been deleted (a cached version is available here), and a spokesperson confirmed FanSided will no longer be working with Gravley, a freelance writer who had been writing for FightingGobbler for a few months. The spokesperson also said “New protocols have been rolled out and are continuing to be implemented and monitored closely.” Brugler also told Awful Announcing that FanSided editors had reached out to apologize to him and to tell him that they’d deleted the plagiarized content.

It is worth noting that FanSided’s network is of significant size, with over 300 sites, and that they publish an estimated 20,000 stories a month. Both of these incidents did take place on the network, not on the flagship, and both were addressed soon after they came to light. However, any instance of plagiarism is disturbing, and two such obvious cases in the span of a month are certainly concerning. We’ll see if these new protocols are able to deter further plagiarism at FanSided.

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.