A.J. Daulerio Talks About ESPN Using Deadspin as Source in McGwire Story

It was bound to happen. When Deadspin was launched in 2005 behind Will Leitch and A.J. Daulerio, it was a sports alternative. A website that could provide sports news without all the yelling and screaming. One of the site's initial "goals" was to call out ESPN.

But ... call out ESPN? Why, how will you make it in sports by calling out the WWL?

Well, on Thursday, sports media might have changed for good. In reporting the recent claims slugger Mark McGwire, to steroids in the early 1990s, ESPN used Deadspin as a source.

In the proposal, first reported Wednesday on Deadspin.com, Jay McGwire alleges that Mark used Deca-Durabolin and that he introduced Mark to performance-enhancing drugs in 1994.

You might remember ESPN sending memos out in the early days of Deadspin warning employers about fraternizing with this blog. Now, a few years later, ESPN has a blog system of their own, even inviting Rick Reilly (sigh) to be a part of the blogosphere.

I asked Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio a few questions about what this means, and he was happy enough to answer, even while recovering from the cookie cutter sheet and tattoo experiment.

FanHouse: Has ESPN ever used Deadspin.com as a source before?

Daulerio: I think online they've used us before and on some of their other shows like ("Around the Horn"), etc. -- but never on SportsCenter. We came close the time Browns' (former) GM Phil Savage sent the nasty e-mail to the fan, but that never ran. So this is a first. Watch out for locusts.

FanHouse: How has the relationship between ESPN and Deadspin softened over the last year and a half?

Daulerio: I think there's been a better understanding about what we do and that, even though it seems like we're constantly bashing them, there is a bit more to the site. There is sarcasm and humor and standard blog irreverence, but Deadspin has always broken stories and done some serious, more "journalism-y"-type stuff. I think the McGwire stories we've done are an example of that and they recognized it.

FanHouse: Do you feel this changes Deadspin at all, becoming a source that a top news organization would quote? Or do you think it is just you guys breaking a story that nobody else wants their hands on?

Daulerio: I don't know. I think it's a slow news week and this just happens to be the juiciest story available right now. We're fortunate in that aspect and I'm grateful for the recognition the site's received because of it.

FanHouse: Barack Obama in office and now ESPN using Deadspin info ... is change really occurring?

Daulerio: Well I think in the past year more and more mainstream outlets are recognizing that sports blogs -- or any type of blog -- can break news, report, and (act as) credible sources on occasion. Hopefully, this is a good thing.

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