Deadspin, which is part of Gawker Media, ran a story yesterday that Cory Garnder, the Republican running for Senate in Colorado who is ahead in the polls, had faked his high school football career.

Deadspin Cory Gardner Lying Football

It was game over according to the cheerleading section on Twitter.

As they were high-fiving each other and ordering extra beers for the post-election celebration, a funny thing happened.  The story turned out to be false.

After muddling the apology, equivocating, and mostly hoping beyond hope that maybe the story could be salvaged, Deadspin’s Editor did a very open apology (though still kinda blaming their original source), How Deadspin Fucked Up The Cory Gardner Story:

On Wednesday, Deadspin published a story questioning the football bona fides of U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican who’s running for the Colorado Senate seat currently occupied by Democrat Mark Udall. We fucked up. After the story was published, the main source we’d relied on reversed himself on a key point, and the central thrust of the report turns out to have been wrong. For that we’re sorry and embarrassed….

But whatever the case, the most damning implication of our story, that Gardner didn’t actually play high school ball, is wrong. That’s shitty of us. As serial collectors of media fuck-ups, we add this self-portrait to the gallery. For more thorough coverage, you can read Erik Wemple over at the Post. As I told Wemple—and I sincerely meant it—given that our main source went and unsaid everything he’d said 24 hours earlier, the only thing for us to do now is to eat shit.

The damage goes beyond Deadspin.

It was damaging to the Democratic effort against Gardner.

You don’t get many October Surprises, and this one falling flat will hurt all efforts against Gardner.

Brad Woodhouse, a leading Democratic operative now with American Bridge, was not happy.

Which made T. Becket Adams of the D.C. Examiner happy: