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ESPN Fires 'Con Artist' Columnist

Sarah Phillips' real identity was questioned
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2012 1:34 AM CDT
ESPN Fires 'Con Artist' Columnist
Phillips's Covers.com columns appeared with photographs of different women.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – ESPN has fired a writer who went from being a poster on the message boards at gambling site Covers.com to being a star columnist at ESPN.com without anybody checking her real identity. Sarah Phillips was sacked soon after Deadspin ran a lengthy expose questioning her identity and accusing her of involvement in a fraud and extortion scheme involving social media. Phillips, who said she was a 22-year-old West Coast university student and a hardcore gambler, never met anybody at ESPN in person and used photographs of several different people to accompany her writings at Covers.

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Phillips and accomplices approached people with popular Facebook and Twitter pages, offered to make them part of a lucrative new venture, and then shut them out of their own sites, according to Deadspin. After her firing by ESPN—which says it is reviewing its hiring practices—she issued a series of tweets saying she had made "poor choices" but not admitting wrongdoing, PC Magazine reports. " I was able to evaluate everything and move away from sports media," she wrote. "You live and learn. I'm just a fan now ." (Read more ESPN stories.)

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