FanDuel - WFBC

May 01, 2012

Is ESPN columnist Sarah Phillips scamming people on the internet?: Eight months ago, a writer who specializes in sports-betting was hired by ESPN, sight-unseen. Fast-forward six months and accusations are swirling that she is either not who she says she is, or she is using her platform to grift internet gamblers and content creators. A story that's about fifty percent JT Leroy and fifty percent Nigerian prince (via MetaFilter).

posted by rcade to general at 07:49 PM - 7 comments

The worst part about all this is how small and sordid it all seemed. This wasn't a brilliant The Sting style con, it was just your bog-standard "Hey, I can make you famous, just give me money for headshots/the password to your website." And for what? Did Phillips or Prasad or Phillips/Prasad make any appreciable amount of money? It's like when the DA relates how some schnook killed two workers at a 7-11 and then stole $130 and a can of Pringles.

posted by Etrigan at 12:11 AM on May 02

For most of that piece, I thought the reveal was going to be that Sarah Phillips was really Nilesh Prasad. It sounded like she was a cute girl sock puppet he had created to make his writing more popular.

Although ESPN will take a hit for hiring her, she was only a freelancer. I've done a lot of writing as a freelancer where I never met my editors and they would have no reason to check my background.

posted by rcade at 08:11 AM on May 02

I wouldn't rule it out at all. At the very least, I'm gonna guess that Prasad was using her identity in some of these conversations (and here's another one).

ESPN isn't going to suffer a whit for this -- like Romney and the dog-on-the-roof story, this is going to be pointed at by people who already hate ESPN and ignored by people who don't hate ESPN until SI has the same problem, at which point the ESPN-defenders will resurrect Sarah Phillips to show that everyone does it, but SI is worse.

posted by Etrigan at 08:25 AM on May 02

She's also involved in taking OhWonka, a Twitter parody account with 800,000 followers. Though it's supposedly back in the original hands.

posted by rcade at 08:44 AM on May 02

I wouldn't rule it out at all.

I've seen a number of people saying this and it was my reaction until I finished the piece, but the background provided at the end suggests these are all real people.

posted by yerfatma at 09:05 AM on May 02

There's little-to-no question that Phillips exists in some form, and is probably the sports bettor who blogged at ESPN. But I wouldn't be surprised at all if Prasad were acting as her in at least some of this.

posted by Etrigan at 10:10 AM on May 02

Although ESPN will take a hit for hiring her, she was only a freelancer. I've done a lot of writing as a freelancer where I never met my editors and they would have no reason to check my background.

The Author is dead. The text stands alone.

posted by owlhouse at 10:09 PM on May 02

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