Chris Broussard Is Taking A Lot Of Heat Over His Eric Gordon “Quote”

  • Evan Sporer

While most of us were busy grilling yesterday, the NBA hot stove did not cool down. While Steve Nash’s sign-and-trade to Los Angeles was the big news, the Phoenix Suns also offered Eric Gordon a max-contract offer sheet of four years worth $58 million dollars. Gordon announced the news via a prepared statement that read as such:

“After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible,” Gordon said in a prepared statement. “Mr. Sarver, Lon Babby, Lance Blanks, the front office staff and Coach Gentry run a first-class organization, and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now.”

That was released at 7:20 p.m., pacific time. Fast forward 13 minutes, and we saw this tweet from Broussard:

Now, you don’t have to be a master analyst to deduce that Broussard most likely lifted what “Gordon told him” from the prepared statement. Since then, Twitter has been abuzz about the situation, with many people taking shots at Broussard, with the hashtag “Chris Broussard Tweet.”

So Broussard decided to fire back, with this series of tweets:

My problem, however, isn’t with Broussard’s immature response via Twitter, but a bigger issue that ESPN will fail to address.

One of its reporters took information from another media source and passed it off as his own.

I don’t think I’m prepared to call this plagiarism. I don’t know if one can “plagiarize” on Twitter, but what Broussard did came as close to that as possible. Twitter is basically our breaking news source during NBA free agency. But let’s rewind to when Twitter didn’t exist. Let’s say Broussard went live-to-air on ESPN and said that Eric Gordon had texted him that, and presented it as his own original reporting. How unethical does that sound? And rewind even further. What if Broussard had written that in a newspaper, and it appeared the next day. Isn’t that plagiarism?

Obviously, those are decidedly different scenarios. But in a day where we’re defining our own Internet ethics, what else are we supposed to compare this to?

I doubt ESPN will discipline Broussard. I doubt ESPN even addresses the subject. But what Broussard did was wrong. I saw some journalists tweeting yesterday in his defense. The argument was that many times we report on second-hand information; things that were not told directly to us. Heck, that’s how this site makes a living. But what Broussard didn’t do, is cite his sources. While it is true many news items are syndicated, Broussard did not give credit where credit was due. Again, I’m not sure I would call this pliagarism, but there is something very wrong here. This all falls into the realm of Internet ethics. Where does Twitter fall? And if we hold someone to a certain standard in one medium, how does it change on the Internet?

If you don’t know Broussard’s professional history, he’s worked with The Plain Dealer, the Akron Beacon Journal, and The New York Times. He should understand ethical issues in the media. Needless to say, he did not use his better judgement in this situation.

And of course, firing back with an immature series of tweets is no substitute for an apology, and an explanation.