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Sports website Deadspin's editor fired for not sticking to sports — after management explicitly ordered it

Outright defiance

John Taggart for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Deadspin interim editor-in-chief Barry Petchesky was fired Tuesday for deliberately posting stories unrelated to sports on the website's front page in an apparent protest to management's recent order to post only sports stories or those with a tie to sports, according to the New York Times.

The new directive to publish only sports stories on Deadspin, which is a sports website, came down Monday from G/O Media, the company that runs Deadspin, as well as other sites such as Gizmodo and Jezebel.

"To create as much great sports journalism as we can requires a 100 percent focus of our resources on sports," G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment said in a Monday memo.

Petchesky didn't like that idea, so on Tuesday, the site featured only stories that had nothing, or very little, to do with sports. According to the Times, stories included a "post about a pumpkin thief in Washington," a post about wedding dress codes, and an article about an actor from "Ghostbusters II."

His superiors were not amused or moved by the act of defiance against the new company mandate, and Petchesky revealed Tuesday afternoon that he had been fired.

"Sports touches on nearly every aspect of life — from politics to business to pop culture and more," Maidment said in a statement. "We believe that Deadspin reporters and editors should go after every conceivable story, as long as it has something to do with sports. We are sorry that some on the Deadspin staff don't agree with that editorial direction and refuse to work within that incredibly broad mandate."

The Deadspin staff union tweeted that it had nothing to do with changes to the front page after it was altered by Maidment to have only sports stories.

Deadspin does have a section for non-sports stories called The Concourse, and those posts on average drew about twice as much traffic as normal Deadspin posts, although they were significantly less frequent.

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