This (not) just in: ESPN duped

From today’s USA Today (linked here), with the moral of the story: Don’t trust anyone on the phone who sounds like Hal Holbrook:

Somebody posing as a Washington Post reporter convinced ESPN on Monday that one of the Washington Capitals’ star players had been suspended for Tuesday’s decisive Eastern Conference playoff Game 7 against the New York Rangers.

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“I was on my way to the rink this morning and my buddy called me and was a little upset I was missing Game 7,” said Capitals defenseman Mike Green, a finalist for the Norris Trophy given to the NHL’s top defenseman.

“I had no idea what for. It kind of caught me off guard.”

ESPN SportsCenter hosts Josh Elliot and Hannah Storm relayed that Green and teammate Donald Brashear were suspended under a “Breaking News” banner Monday at 9:52 a.m.

Within a half hour, ESPN retracted the story.

“Our news desk received the call from someone representing themselves as a Washington Post reporter,” ESPN spokesman Dan Quinn said.

“We didn’t follow our own fact-checking procedures and mistakenly reported the story.

“We apologize for the error.”

Part of the fib wound up being true.

Brashear was suspended later Monday for six games for two on-ice incidents during the Caps’ 5-3 victory in Game 6.

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