Two problematic "Race Track" stories. Two problematic “Race Track” stories.

There have been lots of cases of people deleting a particular social media account after backlash over a take. But deleting a whole website? That’s more unusual.

That’s what appears to have happened with “Race Track,” a web publication that drew a tremendous amount of attention after syndicated their bizarre obituary of former NBA player Brandon Hunter, who passed away at 42 Tuesday:

The entire article on Hunter was posted on Reddit in a thread where there’s a lot of debate about whether it’s an AI fail, a translation fail (perhaps through a program like Google Translate rather than a human), a combination thereof, or something else. Here it is in full:

Former NBA participant Brandon Hunter, who beforehand performed for the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, has handed away on the age of 42, as introduced by Ohio males’s basketball coach Jeff Boals on Tuesday.

Hunter, initially a extremely regarded highschool basketball participant in Cincinnati, achieved vital success as a ahead for the Bobcats.

He earned three first-team All-MAC convention alternatives and led the NCAA in rebounding throughout his senior season. Hunter’s expertise led to his choice because the 56th general decide within the 2003 NBA Draft.

Throughout his NBA profession, he performed in 67 video games over two seasons and achieved a career-high of 17 factors in a recreation in opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2004.

Some of that is clearly using synonyms that aren’t actually synonyms in the context, such as “handed away” for “passed away,” “general decide” for “pick,” “factors” for “points” and “recreation” for “game.” This drew a detailed writeup from Victor Tangermann at Futurism, titled “Microsoft Publishes Garbled AI Article Calling Tragically Deceased NBA Player ‘Useless.'”

In that piece, Tangermann dove into the publication in question here.

Take the original publisher of the piece on Hunter’s death, a publication going by the name of Race Track. Red flags abound, starting with the fact that its articles are bylined simply by an anonymous “Editor.” The publication claims to distill the “essence of sports excellence” by being “your premier destination for all major sports news” — and though it links to a Portuguese-language automotive magazine called Autogear in its MSN profile, that site’s “About Us” page is entirely filled with Lorem ipsum text, placeholder verbiage commonly used by web designers.

Over the last 12 hours, the website has seemingly been taken down and presents visitors with a login page.

And despite having almost 100,000 followers on Facebook, the site’s content gets almost zero engagement there.

As Tangermann goes on to note, there are major plagiarism concerns with what’s going on here too, with the Hunter story being essentially identical to TMZ’s but with those improper synonyms thrown in. And there are other articles he references that look to be plagiarized from a variety of sources.

But at least this article was all on one subject. Some of the other ones still up on Race Track’s MSN profile are far less clear, and reference years-old events from widely-different sports and TV shows. For example, there’s “Cincinnati Masters: Federer downs Murray to arrange Raonic SF problem,” which was posted on Thursday with a byline of “Story by Diego Soare.” (Update: It was taken down by Friday morning. Our original post continues below.)

But if “Soare” really wrote this, he is a very interesting person indeed. The headline appears to be about a 2014 Cincinnati Masters tennis match (the only time Federer faced Murray in the quarterfinals there), and appears to come from an actual piece written then by Marianne Bevis for The Sport Review.

But the content doesn’t talk about tennis. Instead, it covers (or tries to) a 2015 F1 race and Premier League results for Southampton under Ronald Koeman (who managed there from 2014 to 2016), while also using a football photo (which appears to be of a 2010 Nevada Wolf Pack-BYU Cougars game) with an F1 caption, using a photo of the New Orleans Saints rather than the Southampton Saints, and throwing in a lot of nonsensical talk about Star Wars‘ The Force. And it seems to largely be the first half of a bunch of gibberish that appeared on in 2016. Here’s a screenshot of this article from “Soare” on MSN in case it gets taken down:

A screenshot of the "Race Track" story seemingly on the "Cincinnati Masters."
A screenshot of the “Race Track” story seemingly on the “Cincinnati Masters.”

Here are the first five paragraphs of that:

All proper. Nicely, take care your self. I suppose that is what you are greatest, presence previous grasp? A tremor within the Power. The final time felt it was within the presence of my previous grasp. I’ve traced the Insurgent spies to her.

Nico Rosberg held off Mercedes team-mate and rival Lewis Hamilton to win a race battle on the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Keep in mind, a Jedi can really feel the Power flowing by means of him. I can not become involved! I’ve obtained work to do! It is not that I just like the Empire, I hate it, however there’s nothing.

The critics have been predicting the Southampton bubble to burst for weeks, however the males in crimson and white have stored defying the chances. Koeman is aware of, with 27 video games to play, the job is way from full, however even he cannot resist the considered a top-four end.

I am not trying an excessive amount of at the remainder of the groups, after defeat Foxes.

Yeah, that’s all not great. So it will be interesting to see how long that one lasts. And it will be interesting to see what happens with “Race Track” (which is not the gas station chain and does not provide whatever gets you going) and their affiliated publications going forward. But this Brandon Hunter mishap in particular really brought what they’re doing to a wider audience.

[Futurism; image via Joshua Benton on Twitter]

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.