I am writing to explain, as best I can, the remarkable similarity between Jon Hoffman's Editorial Notebook "Back to Normal," which appeared on Monday's editorial page, and a column written by Rick Reilly that appeared in the Sept. 26 issue of Sports Illustrated.
Those of you who read Hoffman's editorial notebook might have noticed that entire sentences contained in it were taken directly from Reilly's column.
The matter came to my attention Monday afternoon, at which point several editors and I contacted Hoffman.
First off, let me make it perfectly clear that Hoffman has said it was not his intention to plagiarize Reilly's column, and I believe that his actions -- while irresponsible -- were not meant to be deceitful.
Hoffman intended to apply Reilly's column -- an analysis of how the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have affected the world of professional sports -- to athletics at UNC.
Hoffman meant to attribute the excerpts of Reilly's column that he used to Reilly by italicizing them. But the version his editors received contained no italicization. Neither the fact that certain portions of the column were meant to be italicized nor the fact that Hoffman's column was based on Reilly's column was ever conveyed to me or to the other editors. As a result, Hoffman's editorial notebook, as it ran in Monday's paper, was not properly attributed to Reilly.
Even if the parts taken from Reilly had been properly attributed, the fact remains that the overall thrust of Hoffman's editorial notebook was far too similar to Reilly's column.
Had an editor, myself included, been made aware of the fact that Hoffman based his editorial notebook on Reilly's column, the notebook never would have run.
As it stands, I would like to apologize on behalf of the DTH to anyone who might have been led to believe that all of Hoffman's words were his own.