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Is An ESPN Columnist Scamming People On The Internet? [UPDATE]

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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-01-12 09:13 PM
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Is An ESPN Columnist Scamming People On The Internet? [UPDATE]

A few weeks ago, ESPN columnist Sarah Phillips concluded her weekly "Junk Mail" column with a question from an unnamed reader:

Rumor has it "Sarah Phillips" isn't a real person and this column is being produced by a ghost writer. Is this true?

Phillips responded:

I'm flattered to join the ranks of Barack Obama, Elvis Presley, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Tupac Shakur as the subject of a great American conspiracy theory! (I would have added Biggie Smalls to the list, but I'm westside 'til I die.) In any event, I'm either an alien life form brought to Earth to keep track of Jose Canseco, or I'm a woman named Sarah Phillips who writes sports-related columns and blogs. You decide. In the meantime ... taaake meee tooo yooour leeeadeeer.

Is Sarah Phillips for real? Thirteen months ago, she was an unknown message-board participant at, a gambling website. Then Covers plucked her from the boards and gave her a weekly column, sight unseen. Five months after that, she was tapped by Lynn Hoppes, an editor for, to write a weekly column for ESPN's Page 2once the home of writers like David Halberstam, Ralph Wiley, and Hunter S. Thompson, and which has now been rebranded as ESPN's Playbook. The swiftness of her ascent gave her that weird sort of internet half-celebrity whereby she became moderately famous before anyone really knew who she was...
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  - The Sarah Phillips mystery goes way beyond ESPN  MinM   May-02-12 08:49 AM   #1 
     - Sarah Phillips' Psynopsis  MinM   May-02-12 02:20 PM   #2 
MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-02-12 08:49 AM
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1. The Sarah Phillips mystery goes way beyond ESPN
The Sarah Phillips mystery goes way beyond ESPN and into the farthest reaches of the Twitterverse

Written by Matt Yoder | 02 May 2012

The Sarah Phillips story fascinated me. I've never before seen anything like it. Tuesday, Deadspin broke a story that ESPN's young columnist may be behind several internet scams amidst other incredibly mysterious activity. Almost immediately, ESPN terminated its relationship with the columnist that rose from message boards on a gambling site to writing for the biggest sports network in the world. The activity surrounding Phillips is like the Wild West of the internet with a few people telling stories of also being conned by Phillips. But then, the story got much weirder... and much more interesting.

The connection was made by Deadspin from Sarah Phillips (@SarahPhilli) to a popular Willy Wonka parody account, Condescending Wonka (@OhWonka) after a reader tip that the two accounts had briefly sent out the same tweet before they were deleted. As if this all wasn't crazy enough, Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) entered the fray with Direct Messages from both Phillips and Wonka saying that she controlled both accounts. The key screengrab is this DM from Wonka to Walton purporting to be Phillips:..

Suddenly, former ESPN columnist Sarah Phillips was now connected to one of Twitter's largest parody feeds. At this point, I became totally enthralled in the mystery. This was now a story that was going way beyond ESPN. I was so fascinated in the mystery of this former ESPN columnist that I investigated the situation to see if any other leads appeared. What I discovered was a Twitter web whose full implications are still untangling. Here's the results...
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-02-12 02:20 PM
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2. Sarah Phillips' Psynopsis
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