ESPN reports on some civil suits, not others

44825063.jpgESPN still is on the journalistic sidelines regarding allegations of sexual assault aimed at Ben Roethlisberger.

Why? The network offered some context today to try to further clarify its policy regarding reporting civil suits, which it sometimes does and sometimes doesn't.

Here is what it said were among factors it considered in the Roethlisberger case:

"We're generally very cautious with civil suits that impugn a person's reputation or character."

"We consider the subject's track record/previous history with similar allegations."

"Whether the subject addresses it publicly." Didn't Big Ben's lawyer do that? "In this case, we did not feel Roethlisberger's lawyer's response was enough to warrant our reporting."

"We also consider how such allegation might impact upon the professional performance of the subject/his team."

Example? Roethlisberger is scheduled for a taping of Shaquille O'Neal's reality show. If he doesn't appear, ESPN might revisit the matter based on the possibility it might be "impacting his business decisions and/or his team." An even more obvious example would be if he has to skip part of training camp to be deposed.

ESPN said it recently reported on a planned civil suit against Shannon Brown "because he was playing significant minutes for Lakers in the middle of their championship run in the NBA Playoffs; there was also a police report filed in that case."

In the past, ESPN has passed on reporting civil suits against Michael Vick and Robert Alomar - in the latter case only doing so when Alomar's father discussed it publicly.

What about reporting a suit against Adam (Pacman) Jones?

ESPN did so, it said, "because of his history/past record."

Clear?

(UPDATE: ESPN.com posted a Big Ben story tonight!)

Photo: AP

Comments (7)


Neil,

Probably time to remind us how you graduated high school after this!


"The network offered some context today to try to further clarify its policy regarding reporting civil suits, which it sometimes does and sometimes doesn't."


I sent a letter to ESPN demanding to know why the Roethlisberger matter was not being reported in any of its outlets. The response was the same. I don't buy it for one second. Don't get me wrong - I love Big Ben and the Steelers, but fair is fair.

I sent a letter to ESPN demanding to know why the Roethlisberger matter was not being reported in any of its outlets. The response was the same. I don't buy it for one second. Don't get me wrong - I love Big Ben and the Steelers, but fair is fair.

No mention of "whether the subject has an employment contract and/or a promotional relationship with our network."

Because THAT WOULD BE WRONG.

(And btw? Whoever thinks your copy editor died and left them in charge? Just shut it, willya? I'm seeing this on a bunch of sports columnists' posts lately and it's becoming the sports equivalent of Godwin's Law- as soon as you bring it up, you've lost.)

So they reported on the Adam Jones story because of his "track record". In other words, kick the person while they try to get up from prior kicks. Kudos.

It was on SportsCenter last night.

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