ESPN Insider Buster Olney Hacked as False Reports Circulate on Social Media

A rogue social media user took control of Buster Olney's X account on Monday, flooding his feed with posts about a Francisco Lindor trade and a Shohei Ohtani suspension.
Apr 30, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Television reporter Buster Olney before the game between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park.
Apr 30, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Television reporter Buster Olney before the game between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park. / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Buster Olney has 1.3 million followers on X – the social media platform formerly known as Twitter – giving him one of the largest audiences of any trusted baseball reporter.

Those who logged on Monday evening may have been shocked by what they saw from Olney, although the veteran journalist wasn't in control of his own feed at the time.

Olney's account was hacked around 5 p.m. ET, leading to a handful of posts that featured misinformation and engagement farming tactics. The perpetrator sent out 10 tweets from Olney's account over the next 20 minutes, some of which included NSFW language, off-kilter videos and seemingly random GIFs.

From there, the hacker started reporting fake news.

It started with a trade that supposedly involved the Chicago White Sox sending All-Star outfielder Luis Robert Jr. to the Philadelphia Phillies. Then, they said the New York Mets had agreed to trade shortstop Francisco Lindor to the Oakland Athletics.

The lies got more outlandish from there.

Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani had apparently been banned from baseball due to gambling, with a trial and potential life sentencing set for later this summer. The Baltimore Orioles were then said to be the team relocating to Las Vegas, allowing the A's to stick around in Oakland.

The hacker then said the rest of the 2024 MLB season had been canceled due to COVID-19 before claiming to love longtime Athletics general manager Billy Beane. Whoever took control of Olney's account also blocked the FBI and claimed to hate the Mets.

At about 6:30 p.m. ET, all of the Olney's tweets from the previous 90 minutes were deleted. A handful of replies remained, though.

Olney isn't the first reporter to get his social media account hacked, nor is the 60-year-old the first high-level baseball insider at his own company to experience it. Jeff Passan was hacked back by NFT scammers in 2022, during the most recent MLB lockout.

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Sam Connon

SAM CONNON

Sam Connon is a Staff Writer for Fastball on the Sports Illustrated/FanNation networks. He previously covered UCLA Athletics for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's All Bruins, 247Sports' Bruin Report Online, Rivals' Bruin Blitz, the Bleav Podcast Network and the Daily Bruin, with his work as a sports columnist receiving awards from the College Media Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Connon also wrote for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's New England Patriots site, Patriots Country, and he was on the Patriots and Boston Red Sox beats at Prime Time Sports Talk.