As most of you likely know by now, Sarah Phillips, a former columnist for Covers (a popular sports betting site) and ESPN's Page 2 (now ESPN Playbook), was exposed by Deadspin Tuesday evening for the alleged fraud and scamming of a 19-year-old web entrepreneur and another 30-year-old investment hopeful. She was quickly let go by ESPN.
Phillips responded with her own series of tweets, mainly defending herself and denying that she knew about any of the swindling, even though further evidence of chats and conversations prove she was very much aware (or at least letting someone use her alias as a means of doing the swindling).
(To check out the whole story, and everything that goes along with it, be sure to check Deadspin.)
Anyway, my question, after being fully engulfed by the saga myself, is why do we care? The people who need to care most are ESPN, Covers, Phillips, her supposed business partner Nilesh Prasad, and those who got conned or nearly conned.
The rest of us are merely bystanders, watching people attempt to clean up the massive wreck that this is. Sure, some readers have helped find evidence of Phillips's relationship with Prasad, her background in Oregon, and the fact that her photos of herself are inconsistent.
But what has most of us interested are really those photos themselves. Phillips herself has a cute avatar for her ESPN column and her Twitter, and the pictures she used for her Covers gig are of another cute, although seemingly different blonde woman (potentially Ivy Smith, also of Oregon).
Let's be real. If this was some ESPN blogger who was a middle-aged white male with a scruffy beard, we wouldn't really care who he was or how many fools he tricked into giving him money for fake business ventures. If we really loved the story for the online investigating we feel like we're all doing, we can go try to solve one of many local crimes that actually effect ourselves. Or go watch an episode of Scooby-Doo. Or read one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.
But because, no matter who Sarah Phillips is, we have an image of a sexy con-artist who loves sports in our heads, and we want to find out more. Find more evidence of who she actually is, so we know who we're fantasizing about.
Would we be frantically googling if Paul Lukas (another ESPN Page 2 contributor, with a lot better credentials and more interesting columns) was implicated? Certainly not, although I do read every one of his Uni Watch updates.
We should all face it: we are looking more at the images than the facts, and we'll remember Sarah Phillips' name about as long as we remember any of the other names in this bizarre story. All we know for now, is that we can't stop talking about it.
Or looking at it.