This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive account of all the moving pieces in this Sarah Phillips story. It is clear this this is something of a fluid situation, involving two (possibly three) of the biggest entities in sports reporting, ESPN and Deadspin. It is meant simply to be a catchup for those of you who maybe don’t spend all night conversing on Twitter, or who aren’t interested in a pseudo-scandal potentially involving a complete figment of someone’s imagination, conjured up solely for the purposes of scamming message boarders and landing a full-time gig with a major website.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Deadspin dropped the bombshell story about this Sarah Phillips “person”. I use the quotation marks because, among other points that are hinted at or flat out exposed in the piece (an absolutely fantastic read by the way, if a bit long-winded), Deadspin’s John Koblin raises the idea that Phillips may not, in fact, even be a real person. That alone should be enough to get the conversation started, but it quickly moved on to the idea that, if she is actually real, she and her “associates” may have been scamming others out of their Intellectual Property and/or actual money for quite a while now. Koblin recounts the tales of two men who were apparently taken for either actual cash (hello PayPal!) or the rights to their website and ideas. Shortly after the news broke, ESPN terminated Phillips contract with the site. Which is good, in case, y’know, she never actually existed.
As the night went on, accusations arose regarding Jason McIntyre and The Big Lead; not only from a twitter user that said he had given The Big Lead the story a month ago, but they decided to sit on it, but McIntyre was apparently mentioned by name by one of the alleged scammers in a conversation with one of the victims from the Deadspin story.
Finally, near 11pm, yet another story emerged regarding Phillips and another scam, this time to get her current twitter handle (@SarahPhilli) and nearly 50,000 followers by paying another user $500 for their account, money which was never paid out. An hour later, Phillips offered to pay that alleged victim his $500, but only after the story had been picked up by plenty of other outlets. (That offer tweet has since been deleted, as Phillips put her Gmail address in full view for anyone to contact)
So that’s where the story stands, as of 11pm Tuesday. Obviously, as more news comes along, we will add to this. It seems that this will not be quickly resolved.