The Corner

Deadspin Tries to Take Down Cory Gardner, Gets Stiff-Armed by the Truth

As Republican congressman Cory Gardner has taken the lead in the Colorado Senate race, he’s had to defend himself against claims from a liberal sports blog that he lied about playing on his high-school football team.

Deadspin’s Dave McKenna published a story yesterday claiming that Gardner, who was described as “homo-hatin’ and climate-change-denyin’,” did not play on his high school’s football team despite claiming that he had. The report was shown to be false within hours of its publication. 

The Denver Post talked to Deadspin’s main source, Yuma High School teacher Chuck Pfalmer and found his account did not match McKenna’s story. Deadspin reported that Pfalmer, who taught Gardner and kept football statistics, said Gardner was not on the high-school football team, but Pfalmer told the Post that Gardner played football for three years in high school.

Gardner’s campaign tweeted out visual evidence yesterday of Gardner posing in his football uniform. In one tweet, Gardner wrote that he never expected his lackluster football career to be written about by Deadspin:

In another, Gardner tweeted at the Denver Broncos’ John Elway:

Deadspin initially stood by its reporting, issuing an “update,” not a retraction, blaming the 77-year-old Pfalmer for being an unreliable source. The update says that “Pfalmer repeatedly said Gardner had not played football at the school,” though Pfalmer told the Post that he does not remember saying that. Asked by the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple whether “the site has any further plans to address the discrepancies,” Deadspin editor Tommy Craggs replied, “For now, I guess, we’re going to sit here, eat some s***, and endure our Maoist struggle session in penitent silence.”

Craggs then issued an apology of sorts, in which he admitted that Deadspin “f***ed up.”

Meanwhile, Gardner has taken control in the Colorado Senate race, and it seems even incumbent Senator Mark Udall (D., Colo.) has noticed:

Udall addressed Gardner as “Senator” at a debate earlier this week, and recent polling suggests Udall’s error may prove prescient. A Quinnipiac poll released today shows Gardner leading Udall 47–41 among likely voters, while a CNN poll released on Wednesday found 50 percent of likely voters supported Gardner, with less than 20 days remaining until Election Day.   

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