Rich Cimini of ESPN, who writes primarily about the New York Jets, has apparently been caught red-handed running a fake Twitter account that he uses to parody and slander other beat writers.
According to the reports, Cimini runs a Twitter account (@steiny55) that masquerades as Jake Steinberg (true account @steiny31) of TheJetsBlog.com. The account has also been used to slander Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News and Jane McManus ofESPNNewYork.com.
In one of the more bizarre occurrences in recent Twitter history, Cimini accidentally posted legitimate breaking news about Jets linebacker Calvin Pace from his fake account. The post was then deleted from the fake account and reposted under Cimini's official account, but not before the tweet was noticed and screen-shotted.
Cimini is reportedly denying the accusation, although the evidence seems both comical and convincing. Commented Bassett:
I don't possess direct knowledge, but there's evidence it's a member of the press. I'm around the Jets beat very infrequently, but it doesn't take much time to get a sense just how dysfunctional it is as a group, so much so that someone would waste time making fun of genuinely good people. Even if they try and couch it as just in fun, the person responsible for the account spent a preseason gameday tweeting over 70 times rather than doing their job, that tells me all I care to know.
The type of content being produced by this beat writer's fake account includes direct attempts to hurt the reputations of other Jets beat writers, such as this one:
Is there any fan, even a casual one, that feels Manish Mehta knows more about football than they do?
Either Cimini just got caught in quite the embarrassing predicament, or there is another beat writer out there who has pulled off a masterful frame job. Either way, it makes for a strange set of events on Twitter.