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ESPN issued a correction Monday afternoon after publishing a story that falsely said Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey had been fired after just one season.
The story, which appeared to be written by the network’s newsdesk, said that a “source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter” of the news.
But Schefter, the network’s star football reporter, never reported it — instead, it appears, the misinformation originated from a since-deleted Twitter account posing as Schefter.
The faux story was mentioned on SportsCenter and appeared on the network’s news ticker, in addition to the website, where it was removed after 20 minutes, the network said.
“No ESPN reporters reported on Gailey or the Dolphins, or were involved in the error, which was made internally,” ESPN said in a statement.
It is not uncommon for Twitter accounts to pose as prominent sports journalists in an attempt to dupe fans, usually by changing their usernames and profile pictures to match the authentic accounts they’re pretending to be.
However there are telltale signs that these impersonators are not who they say they are.
In this case, the fake Schefter account did not have a blue check mark indicating that it’s a verified account. And while it changed its name to “Adam Schefter,” its Twitter handle, which appears below the name, read, @TuaNeedsHelp, referring to Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Despite winning 10 games this season, Miami missed the playoffs after Tagovailoa threw one touchdowns and three interceptions in a loss to the Bills.
That has prompted questions about both Gailey and Tagovailoa’s futures with the team, but for now, both are staying put.
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