Sports

Hey Aaron Rodgers, could you not steal our stuff?

We say nice things about Aaron Rodgers on Jeopardy! and he steals our shit. This is the thanks we get.
Photo: Getty Images

I’m going to tell you something that I’m not supposed to, given where I grew up and currently live. I like Aaron Rodgers. You can wave Tom Brady’s six rings in my face all you want, and I’ll still tell you Rodgers is the best QB I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen the dude with a frat house as an offensive line make magic, usually against the Bears, and make throws that I knew weren’t there, whereas Brady just makes all the throws that are there perfectly.

Off the field, while Rodgers doesn’t seem like the most interesting dude in the world, he at least seems to have something of a sense of humor about himself, is at least more affable than a garbage can, isn’t peddling some swindler’s “health-product” scheme, and hasn’t (yet) been accused of gross sexual assault. It’s a low bar, the lowest bar really, but this is sports in the 2020s.

Rodgers is clearly feeling himself these days, after a genuinely well-received stint as guest-host of Jeopardy! which he clearly took very seriously. So good for him. But when athletes are feeling themselves off the field, they tend to meet other people who are convinced they exist on a higher plane than they actually do, which has led to this galaxy-brained stew of “HUH?” called OSDBSports.com, or the Online Sports Database.

Rodgers and Ryan Rottman, a guy who looks like a character from The Social Network that all the other characters thought was dumb and annoying, bonded over their love of The Big Lebowski (familiar) and wondered why there wasn’t an IMDB for athletes. Rottman states that he’s an actor and producer, though his IMDB page makes those claims barely more credible than my claims to be Slash. Except such an idea already exists, basically, in the various sports-reference sites. But when you’re convinced of your own genius, things you don’t know aren’t to be learned but just obstacles that haven’t developed and hence you don’t have to consider.

So here it is, except there’s one major problem. The site’s “editorial” section grifted a bunch of articles from all over the place, including Deadspin.

Illustration for article titled Hey Aaron Rodgers, could you not steal our stuff?

Above are two of our pieces, with zero attribution to Deadspin, plucked straight from our site and published on OSDB.

And there was Donovan Dooley’s post on Zion Williamson, published on OSDB with no attribution to Deadspin whatsoever, and no one bothering to ask Donovan, or any of us, for permission.

And there was Dustin Foote’s article about Alex Smith’s retirement. And Dustin Foote’s article about — fittingly enough — Aaron Rodgers hosting Jeopardy! 

And, hey, we’re back to Donovan, with the site this time stealing his post about Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell.

The site is taking content from just about everywhere, including ESPN, USA Today, and Forbes.

“Thanks for letting me know,” Rottman told Deadspin by phone on Tuesday when asked about the stolen work. Minutes later, two of the cribbed stories were given updated bylines — “By Dustin Foote” became “By Dustin Foote, Deadspin,” as if that were some sort of magical Band-Aid?

Shortly after that, though, Deadspin’s articles were indeed scrubbed from the site, replaced by 404 errors. Other work, yoinked from elsewhere on the internet, remains.

I wouldn’t expect either Rodgers or Rottman, who looks like he was created by an algorithm set to “doofus,” to understand how to cite or link or reference other people’s work on the internet, when they don’t even understand that everything they’re attempting here has already been done for years. Their pitch seems to be, “Well yeah, but this time it’s done by us!”

Online Sports Database co-founder Ryan Rottman (l., with more successful actor Josh Duhamel)

Online Sports Database co-founder Ryan Rottman (l., with more successful actor Josh Duhamel)
Photo: Getty Images

Rottman’s interview with Awful Announcing is truly something to behold, if you want to see how the greatest depths and abysses of our time can be located between someone’s ears. Here’s a money quote:

“There isn’t a place that highlights athletes away from their place of work. I had to navigate through 15 different sites to get in-depth info on my favorite players.”

Now I’ve done my share of drugs, but to the point where I’ve hallucinated Twitter and Instagram? Maybe they were better drugs than I thought. In which case, I really know a bargain! Sure, not every athlete has a Twitter or Insta, which just might mean they don’t want barely sentient plankton with hair product trying to excavate the details of their lives? Just spitballing here.

Rottman complains that there isn’t enough out there about athletes off-the-field, which I was fairly sure was a good thing. And it also ignores the fact that athletes might not want this out there? But again, Rottman has clearly never considered the depth of anything after the age of three.

Anyway, If this is what Rodgers and Rottman want to throw their money behind, or throw other people’s money behind, it’s cool. And it would also be cool if they weren’t stealing our work and the work of others. Feel free to waste your time, brosephs, just don’t steal my buddies’ stuff to do it.

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