The O.C. Register’s Kevin Ding returned to his San Antonio hotel room Tuesday night after the Spurs beat Lakers, and was stunned to discover ESPN News anchor Will Selva introducing highlights from said contest with text lifted, word-for-word, from Ding’s Tuesday preview. Amidst reports he’s been suspended, Selva issued the following apology, as transcribed by Fanhouse’s Milton Kent :

Selva (above), who anchored the overnight “Highlight Express,” which repeated through the morning, used Ding’s sentences virtually verbatim to set up the game highlights. In a statement issued by ESPN, Selva said he had been researching stories from local newspapers, and came across Ding’s column. Selva said he cut and pasted the story into his script, but forgot to write his own words.

“I made a horrible mistake and I’m deeply sorry. I did not live up to my high standards or ESPN’s,” Selva said in the statement. “I sincerely apologize for my sloppiness, especially to Kevin Ding, viewers and colleagues. In my 15 years in broadcast journalism, nothing like this has ever happened and I will make every effort to ensure it won’t happen again.”

I think I speak for viewers across the nation when I say I’m deeply disappointed….this couldn’t have happened to Jonathan Coachman.