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ESPN Fires Gambling Columnist

Sarah Phillips, a columnist for ESPN’s Playbook, was fired Tuesday after Deadspin revealed that the writer had received money from a fan for betting on games as she sought to start her own online gambling site. The identity of Phillips, who was signed by ESPN to write for the site beginning in September of last year, has been called into question by a variety of outlets after a quick and mysterious rise from being a gambling Web site commenter to an ESPN columnist. ESPN said it had no connection to Phillips’s gambling, which had earned her $2,100 from a fan before she had asked for another $5,000. ESPN said it will review its process for verifying the identity of its contributors, though the company said she checked out by providing “the information necessary to contribute” for the outlet.