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ESPN anchor apologizes for stealing newspaper writer's words

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • ESPN's Will Selva apologizes for his "horrible mistake"
  • Sports writer Kevin Ding says he was shocked to hear his words used on TV
  • Selva promises "it won't happen again"

(CNN) -- Sports writer Kevin Ding heard familiar words when he tuned into ESPN Tuesday night -- words that he wrote for his Orange County Register column two days earlier.

ESPN anchor Will Selva apologized Wednesday for lifting the opening paragraphs of Ding's Sunday preview of the Los Angeles Lakers' battle with the San Antonio Spurs for his report on ESPN's "Highlight Express" show.

"I made a horrible mistake and I'm deeply sorry," Selva said in a written statement. "I did not live up to my high standards or ESPN's."

The mistake happened when Selva pasted Ding's sentences into his script as background for his writing, he said.

"In this case, I cut and pasted the story with every intention of writing my own," Selva said. "I simply forgot and I completely understand why this is a major problem. I sincerely apologize for my sloppiness, especially to Kevin Ding, viewers and colleagues."

Ding, who got fodder for another column out of the incident, showed a sense of humor while making his point.

"Hey, Will Selva of ESPNEWS," he wrote Wednesday. "Glad you liked my last column so much. Try not to plagiarize it next time."

Ding wrote he turned on ESPN in his hotel room after covering the Lakers-Spurs game Tuesday night.

"Imagine my shock when anchor Will Selva proceeded to use the first several paragraphs of my column looking forward to the game as his lead-in to the highlights," Ding wrote. "I mean, word for word."

Ding even offered his own apology to Selva. "Honestly, it wasn't my best lead, come to think of it. Sorry about that, Will."

ESPN did not reveal if Selva was punished, but a network spokesman Josh Krulewitz did said the incident was taken "extremely seriously and we've taken appropriate action."

"We looked into how it happened and found that this very bad mistake was made because (Selva) should have been more thorough, even on deadline, not because he was intentionally trying to claim someone else's work as his own," Krulewitz said.

Selva, a broadcast journalist for 15 years, said he would "make every effort to ensure it won't happen again."