The Minnesota Star Tribune admitted to publishing quotes from a hoaxer pretending to be the agent of NFL wide receiver Randy Moss.
According to City Pages, Star Tribune’s Judd Zulgad published a quote from someone pretending to be Joel Segal, Moss’s agent, announcing that Moss was waived by his team, the Minnesota Vikings. (The Washington Post reported that the Tennessee Titans “claimed Randy Moss off his waiver,” making him a part of their team on Nov. 3.)
The headline was “Agent: Moss sad by Vikings’ decision to waive him” and the phony comments were:
“Randy is very sad to find out about being waived by the Vikings this morning,” Moss’ agent, Joel Segal, reportedly wrote in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. “He has and always will remain fond of the fans in Minnesota. We will let the process of the waiver wire take its course and we will move on from there.”
The hoaxer also alleged that “Miami and Seattle had already expressed interest in Moss,” City Pages reported.
And, even though the Star Tribune has removed the blog post from its website, the fake news has been republished and the damage is done, City Pages noted. For example, St. Louis Today fell for the story, as did USA Today.
Assistant managing editor for sports at the newspaper told StinkyJournalism via e-mail that “we ran a correction the following day on the Access Vikings blog.” Crevier also told StinkyJournalism that the newspaper hasn’t learned who is responsible for the hoax and that his comment to MinnPost.com ‘stands as my comment on the incident. There isn’t anything else to say.” The correction is available here:
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“A quote that was attributed to Randy Moss’ agent, Joel Segal, that ran in the Access Vikings blog Monday was not from Segal but rather someone posing as him on what proved to be a phony e-mail account. The Star Tribune regrets the error.”
Crevier told MinnPost.com:
“Judd exchanged emails on Monday afternoon with someone alleging to be Joel Segal of Lagardere Unlimited. Segal is the agent for Randy Moss. We posted a blog entry with a quote from Segal. While we had no reason to believe that the email was fraudulent, we later learned that we had been duped, and immediately removed the story from our website.”
Crevier also admitted “we should have done our due diligence to confirm the source. We didn’t and we learned a lesson,” MinnPost.com reported.
The Star Tribune could have been tipped off the e-mail was from someone posing as the agent because the real agent isn’t “an email person” and “never made that comment,” NFL network reporter Michael Lombardi is quoted as telling MinnPost.com.
iMediaEthics is writing Randy Moss’ agent to see if in his view, the false story created any serious harm.