ESPN's SportsNation, Sports Illustrated's Peter King and others re-tweeted a fake photograph of Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, Yahoo Sports reported.
The photo shows Verlander posing in a stadium and was doctored by changing the wording of his T-shirt, which originally read "Keep the MVP in the D Miguel Cabrera 24." The fake photo shows his T-shirt reading "Property of Pablo Sandoval" and was in light of Verlander having "allowed two home runs to San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval in Game 1 of the World Series" this past week, MLive noted.
MLive pointed to its Sept. 11 report and photo showing the original photo of Verlander. Yahoo Sports added that Verlander tweeted the original photo last month as well.
USA Today reported that Detroit Tigers Director of Media Relations Brian Britten called the Sandoval image "an absolute fraud," adding that he "took the picture in Chicago."
"The actual t-shirt says keep the MVP in the D," Britten confirmed. Other evidence the photo wasn't a new picture: CBS Sports reported that:
"If anyone looked more closely, they'd notice the picture wasn't taken at either AT&T Park or Comerica Park (it's actually U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago). And there's someone in shorts behind him -- and it hasn't exactly been shorts weather in San Francisco or Detroit this week."
SportsNation, Peter King and Mark Feinsand tweeted the fake photo when they re-tweeted "minor league player" Jimmy Van Ostrand's Oct. 26 tweet with the photo. Van Ostrand later tweeted that the photo was a fake.
As of Oct. 28 at 11:30 AM EST, neither King, who identifies himself as "Sports Illustrated's senior NFL writer," nor Feinsand, New York Daily News' "Yankees beat writer," have apparently tweeted that the photo was a phony.
Feinsand told iMediaEthics by email that he "did not know it was a fake when I re-tweeted it."
"I saw it on my iPhone while sitting on a plane before takeoff and found it quite humorous," he wrote. "Because of the size of the screen, I didn't pick up on the fact that the photo had been taken in Chicago. Had I known, I probably still would have re-tweeted it, though with a mention of it being fake."
Feinsand added that after he tweeted the photo, "Some followers tweeted to me during my flight that it was fake, but I didn't see those until the next day. I actually tweeted out a mention earlier today that it was a fake, but that I found it funny nonetheless."
iMediaEthics has written to King asking if he knew the photo was a fake and if he will let his Twitter followers know that the photo isn't real. We will update with any response.
Almost half an hour after SportsNation's tweet calling the photo "awesome," SportsNation tweeted the photo was a phony.
Fox Sports' Erin Andrews, who re-tweeted the photo from a different tweeter, @EricLyonsODLA, questioned if the photo was legit.
iMediaEthics wrote in 2010 when Outside magazine ran a doctored photo of Lance Armstrong. That photo also faked by changing the wording of his T-shirt.
UPDATE: 10/28/2012 6:56 PM EST: Added Feinsand's response.