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Arash Markazi Exits Los Angeles Times

“In mid-July, The Times began formally investigating the accusations as Vice News reported specific examples of plagiarism against Markazi.”

Brandon Contes

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One month after Arash Markazi was placed on paid leave by the Los Angeles Times, his year and a half tenure with the paper came to an end amid accusations of plagiarism. 

A longtime sports columnist and Los Angeles native, Markazi announced his resignation from The Times in an Instagram post Friday. Markazi was graceful in his exit and called working for the LA Times a “dream come true,” making no mention of the plagiarism allegations. A non-disparagement agreement prevents him from commenting further. 

In mid-July, The Times began formally investigating the accusations as Vice News reported specific examples of plagiarism against Markazi. The report also stated members of the paper’s sports staff campaigned against their colleague, sending a letter to management which claimed plagiarism and improper use of social media by Markazi.

It’s important to note that while Markazi is being accused of plagiarism, none of the accusations include stealing work from other journalists. In each instance of plagiarism laid out by Vice News last month, they were all either examples of Markazi recycling his own work or pulling a sentence from a press release to provide information such as ticket prices or contractual numbers.

In the case of recycling his own content, Vice News provided two columns from Markazi, one from ESPN in 2018 and the other from the LA Times last year.

For an ESPN column in 2018, Markazi offered the following description of watching March Madness at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas:

“… 40,000-square-foot ballroom on the fourth floor, complete with 12 22’x12′ HD projection screens, a center bar surrounded by 16 more HD monitors, a hardwood basketball court and a dedicated on-site sportsbook. Admission to the party, which included an open bar for 13 hours, went for $225 each and sold out on Thursday and Friday. The party attracted more than 6,000 customers over the first three days of the tournament.”

One year later, Markazi provided an almost identical description of the hotel for his column with the LA Times. 

“… 40,000-square-foot ballroom on the fourth floor into a giant “man cave” complete with 22 22-foot-by-12-foot HD projection screens, a center bar surrounded by 16 more HD monitors, a hardwood basketball court and a dedicated on-site sports book. Admission to the party, which included an open bar for 13 hours, went for $225 each day and sold out on Thursday and Friday. The party attracted more than 6,000 customers over the first three days of the tournament.”

Markazi recycled his own content in offering statistics for the Cosmopolitan Hotel. But he fact checked and adjusted the information as shown by the additional ten 22-foot-by-12-foot HD projection screens that were added from 2018-2019. It was recycled details and information, not even an opinion or idea. 

similar instance occurred in 2016 when Tom Kludt, then of CNN, noticed Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press gave an opinion of Colin Kaepernick which paralleled a 2003 column he wrote about Manhattanville College basketball player Toni Smith, who turned her back to the American flag during the national anthem to protest the Iraq War. This after Albom was suspended for a short period by the paper in 2005, for fabricating a column which described two NBA players as being in attendance for an NCAA Final Four game even though they weren’t there. 

Neither incident led to Albom parting ways with the Detroit Free Press

While LA Times staffers were also reportedly critical of Markazi’s social life and social media presence, the paper seemed supportive of his reach when they sent him to the Super Bowl in 2019. The intent of the trip was to “experience Super Bowl week in South Beach with Arash Markazi as your guide.”

“I’m going to be reporting this trip in real time at @LATimesSports on Twitter and also on latimes.com/sports,” Markazi wrote ahead of the 2019 Super Bowl where he was on assignment with the purpose of giving LA Times’ readers an inside look at the event’s parties. 

Vice News also reported updates were recently made to the examples of plagiarism from Markazi’s LA Times columns in question.

For context on those columns, Markazi mentioned Clayton Kershaw’s nonprofit on Dec. 16, 2019, he then referenced and wrote their mission statement, “…seeks to serve vulnerable and at-risk children living in L.A., Dallas, Zambia and the Dominican Republic.”

The Aug. 7 update as noted by Laura Wagner gave attribution to Kershaw’s charity for use of their mission statement. 

Markazi’s actions can certainly be construed as lazy or corner-cutting, but the headline of “plagiarism” is essentially journalistic suicide and implies stolen work. With that in mind, it’s fair to ask what was more damning for Markazi as he exits his dream job – his actions, or the co-worker campaign against him.

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Draymond Green, JJ Redick Sell Out Live Podcast Show

The show will collaborate for the first time and it will mark an interesting time in the thrusting of new media onto the public consciousness.

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Old Man Draymond

The two new and most visible faces of the new media influx have teamed up for a live show that will take place in New York City. Draymond Green and JJ Redick are bringing their respective podcasts to the stage for a live experience.

On Monday (June 27), Draymond Green’s The Draymond Green Show and JJ Redick’s The Old Man and the Three will seek to entertain an already sold out audience at The City Winery in New York City.

The show will collaborate for the first time and it will mark an interesting time in the thrusting of new media onto the public consciousness. JJ Redick has earned universal praise for how he has handled his career post-retirement from the NBA, including appear often opposite Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s First Take as well as the network’s myriad of other programming.

Draymond Green has been very public with his podcast that has very publicly recorded episodes minutes after Warriors games. He has recently invoked his mantra that he isn’t a part of the media (despite signing a contract with Turner Sports and Colin Cowherd’s The Volume). Instead he insists he is a part of the aforementioned new media.

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Scott Van Pelt Not Hurt By Draymond Green’s “New Media” Comment

“He’s the one that said it. Isn’t he the one who said he’s new media? I was just trying to give him credit in saying, ‘Look, you now have control of your narrative and you can go do your podcast now.’”

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Scott Van Pelt

We have heard an awful lot in the fast month about “new media” with a large section of that discussion coming in regards to athletes in or formerly in the NBA. One such interaction was between a member of that new media and Scott Van Pelt.

After Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a victorious Draymond Green was interviewed on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt. In the interview, Van Pelt asked Green about dealing with the outside “noise” around the Finals. After Green gave a to-be-expected type answer, Van Pelt followed-up with the initial comment that start a wave.

Van Pelt: You’re part of the media now and you get to control the conversation from your perspective and I know you’ll-

Green: New media.

He then corrected Van Pelt’s assertion that Green had stated Stephen A. Smith was new media by saying:

Green: And by the way go watch The Draymond Green Show. I said Stephen A. sometimes acts like the new media. Sometimes he doesn’t. That’s on you, but nonetheless, don’t just lump me in with media, baby. It’s the new media.

Scott Van Pelt appeared on the SI Media Podcast and was asked about this exchange.

“I didn’t get that,” Van Pelt said of Green’s resistance in being associated with the word “media.”

“He’s the one that said it. Isn’t he the one who said he’s new media? I was just trying to give him credit in saying, ‘Look, you now have control of your narrative and you can go do your podcast now.’”

Van Pelt went on about Green’s categorizing of Smith and other media as a separate column of media.

“I guess what Draymond actually said was sometimes he’s new media. I don’t give a shit who’s what…I think now as it relates to media, there’s no new and old because people that are in the old media are doing the new media and people that are in new media are cutting through in ways that people in old media didn’t think they ever would many years ago. I guess all I’m saying is whatever Stephen A. is, he exists in both lanes and Draymond, clearly his content cuts through on his podcast or with me.

I wasn’t hurt by it. I didn’t take it like he was mad at me. I was just correcting the semantics. It didn’t trouble me. Whatever. However Draymond frames what Stephen A. Smith is or what any of us are, it doesn’t feel important. I think it’s important he has that place where he wants to do his thing. And I think people are interested in hearing from the guy that was just out there not long after saying what he has to say.”

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Big Cat Asks For Listeners’ Help Booking Kevin Durant on Pardon My Take

“On a recent edition of the podcast, Big Cat talked about how the Brooklyn Nets star has continued to snub requests to come on the show.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Barstool’s Big Cat has been trying to book NBA star Kevin Durant on Pardon My Take for five years, but the former MVP just won’t say yes.

On a recent edition of the podcast, Big Cat talked about how the Brooklyn Nets star has continued to snub requests to come on the show.

“We want Kevin Durant on this show, and he has just alpha-ed me so hard at this point,” Big Cat said. “I need people to start replying to his tweets saying just go on Pardon My Take.”

It’s not like KD has given Big Cat the cold shoulder. Big Cat said Durant has responded to his DMs on Twitter before, even wishing him Happy Thanksgiving one year. But so far all attempts to get Durant on PMT have been futile.

“Maybe if we start getting some rings, then he’ll be like, ‘Yeah they’re an elite team, and I want to join up with them. And maybe I can help them win something,'” PFT Commenter said, referencing the fact that PMT is yet to be recognized with any podcasting awards.

Durant did more or less tell the podcast on Twitter he wasn’t interested on Wednesday.

Durant’s response probably still won’t deter Big Cat from trying to get Durant on the show, but at least they know where KD stands.

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