Prescient Ron Borges on Cunningham?

Patriots defensive lineman Jermaine Cunningham was suspended today for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

In his report card following the season-opener against the Titans, Ron Borges wrote:

Jermaine Cunningham, now mysteriously bulked up, doubled his career sack total with one and at times slid inside to DT, providing a distinct speed advantage without losing much strength.

When the suspension was announced today, Borges wasted no time in his victory lap:

So how much did Borges know, if anything? Or is this another “even a stopped clock is right twice a day” type of thing?

At Last, Some Reason…

Tom E. Curran shows a little sanity when talking Patriots and putting the “team of the decade” comparisons with the Colts in perspective. He notes that some of his colleagues are letting their facts get a little fuzzy when it comes to this topic.

You may recall the other day when Ron Borges, twisting the numbers to suit his agenda, stated the following:

The Colts have won more regular-season games this decade than the Patriots, won more consecutive games this decade than the Patriots, made the playoffs more often this decade than the Patriots (9-8), reached the playoffs more consecutive years than the Patriots (eight straight) and if they win Sunday will trail them by only one Super Bowl victory this decade.

Borges, was of course spouting the Polian company line, which doesn’t include playoffs in win totals or winning streaks.

Curran acknowledges that Borges is his friend, but does correct him nonetheless.

From 2000 through 2009, the New England Patriots went 126-52. They won three Super Bowls, four conference titles and made it to the AFC Championship five times.

They became the first team in history to go unbeaten over a 16-game regular season and became the first to win 18 in a row in a single season. Only once since 2000 did they finish under .500. And that was 2000.

They won three Super Bowls, four conference titles and made it to the AFC Championship five times. They didn’t go one-and-done in the playoffs until 2009. They finished tied for first place in the AFC East every season from 2001 through 2009. They had one winning streak of 21 games that went from 2003 through those playoffs and into 2004. They had another winning streak of 18 games (2007). They set the record for most consecutive postseason games won (10).

He then compared that to the Colts:

From 2000 through 2009, the Indianapolis Colts went 124-52 (with one game remaining). They won one Super Bowl, two conference titles and made it to the AFC Championship three times.

They set the record for consecutive regular-season games won with 22 in the 2008 and 2009 seasons (a playoff loss in the first-round of the 2008 playoffs prevented them from being able to break New England’s overall record). In their nine postseason appearances, they were one-and-done five times.

He also looks at the money spent by the two teams – another frequent accusation by Borges. It is very close between the two clubs.

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Check the coverage of last night’s Celtics win over the Nets at CelticsLinks.com.

#4 Plagiarism Scandals

The decade was rocked by two major plagiarism scandals involving newspaper sports reporters in Boston.

In February, 2005, the Patriots were in Jacksonville, getting ready for their third Super Bowl of the decade. Ken Powers was covering the team for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, when we learned on the morning of February 2nd, that he had been sent home from covering the team. The Editor & Publisher reported that Powers had been accused of lifting material from a Peter King Sports Illustrated story.

Later that day, with the help of a couple BSMW readers, I posted a side-by-side comparison of what King had written and what Powers had written.

Powers was promptly fired by the paper, after an investigation turned up “at least half a dozen” cases of plagiarism. He responded by telling WBZ-TV – “The termination is a terrible injustice to me.” – even as more cases were being posted here on BSMW.

It ws discovered that Powers had copied Michael Smith of ESPN.com and even his friend Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

BSMW got a mention in The New York Times during that week. Here is also the Associated Press story on the incident.

Since that time, Powers has been working as a reporter for The Community Advocate and Central Mass. Sports Insider.

Two years later, in a Sunday Football Notes column for The Boston Globe, Ron Borges used numerous passages originally written by Mike Sando of The News Tribune of Tacoma, Washington. The passages had been submitted by Sando to a “notes-sharing network” used by sports reporters across the country. Borges did not credit Sando in the notes, but there was a disclaimer at the bottom of the column (which ran most of the time in those Sunday notes columns) that “Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.”

Borges was then suspended for two months from the Globe, and barred from making outside media appearances.

Some have defended Borges, claiming that what he did was not really plagiarism. However, the Globe editor specifically stated in the announcement of Borges suspension that “The Globe does not tolerate plagiarism.”

Here are a couple of link collections about the story from that time period.

Media Reaction on Borges 

Borges Suspension Followups

After serving his two-month suspension, Borges wrote one column, relying on fired Raiders offensive coordinator Tom Walsh, who had been operating a bed-and-breakfast in Idaho prior to taking charge of the Oakland offense, to tells us that Randy Moss was washed up, that his skills were in decline, and Moss was “in denial of those eroding skills.”

Five days later, Borges “retired” from the Globe. He was hired by WEEI.com during the summer of 2008, and then bolted WEEI.com in September for a gig at the Boston Herald, where he remains.

In 2003, Hartford Courant college basketball writer Ken Davis was suspended for a month after he lifted nine paragraphs from a Syracuse sports writer. (Journalist Plagiarism/Fabrication Scandals – also used for background on the Powers and Borges cases.)

These scandals put a black eye on sports coverage, and journalism as a whole, and certainly were among the biggest stories this decade in the Boston sports media.