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Will the Real John Royal Please Stand Up?

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From our soon to be

ex-sister paper

in Cleveland, the

Cleveland Scene

, comes the story of one

Branson Wright

, the holder of one of the more coveted jobs in sports, beat writer for an NBA team. Wright, employed by the

Cleveland Plain Dealer

, was the longtime lead beat writer covering the Cleveland Cavaliers. But apparently, he just was not making enough money.

Now these are hard times in the newspaper industry, so a reporter having financial difficulties is believable. Wright’s solution to the problem is not.

Wright formed his own production company and was, supposedly, making a documentary of the Cavs season. There was a slight problem as he appeared to be doing this on the Plain Dealer’s dime. But still, that wasn’t the big problem. The problem came on the night of February 22, 2008, when the Cavs played host to the Washington Wizards. Wright wasn’t assigned to cover that night’s game. Instead, he was doing a sidebar story involving a major trade made by the Cavs.

The Wizards beat writer for the Washington Times couldn’t make the game, so Wright came to the rescue, writing the Times game story under another name. Apparently, the Plain Dealer noticed that the name of the guy writing the story for Times, a B.R. Wright, had a similar name to their writer, Bronson Wright. And seeing as how all of the press guys and the other Plain Dealer reporter knew the Times guy wasn’t there, but that Wright was there supposedly working for the Plain Dealer, certain people put two-and-two together and discovered that the guy they were paying to write a story for the Plain Dealer also decided to get paid by the Times to write a story for their paper.

The end result is that now, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is looking for a new beat writer. So if any of you out there are interested in covering the NBA, here’s your chance.

Now, all that said, I’ve got a confession to make.

As you know, my name is John Royal. But that’s just a made up name. I’m actually double-dipping, and I’m getting paid by the both the Press and by the Washington Post, where I write under the name of Thomas Boswell.

Okay, so maybe I’m not Thomas Boswell. But would you believe that I’m actually Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News – no, I don’t what that identity because then I can’t get access to various places during high-profile events. So would you perhaps believe I’m Mitch Albom? No, then I would have to make up events that never happened and go on suspension while becoming famous for books that make The Notebook read like Hemingway.

Then would you believe I’m actually Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times? No, I can be a prick, but I’m not that big a prick. Okay, okay, here’s the real truth, John Royal is merely the alter-ego I established to hide my true identity. I’m really Jose de Jesus Ortiz, beat writer for the Houston Chronicle.

Okay, okay, I’m just me, John Royal. But if anyone wants to pay me money to cover events when their writer can’t make the game, just send me a note. I don’t mind putting one over on the guys here at the Press. And I work cheap – just feed me and don’t make me sit next to Drayton McLane. – “John Royal”

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