ESPN mum on allegations against Ben Roethlisberger

ESPN has been curiously silent today in reporting the allegations of sexual assault against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Newsday and many other outlets have published at least the AP account. reported ESPN issued a "do not report" edict on the story to its staff.

Why? Roethlisberger has a warm relationship with ESPN, including business dealings with the network such as appearing at its "upfront" presentation to advertising buyers. Hmm.

It turns out ESPN generally avoids reporting on civil suits against sports figures.

Its statement on this matter: "At this point, we are not reporting the allegations against Ben Roethlisberger because no criminal complaint has been filed. As far as we know, this is a civil lawsuit that Roethlisberger has yet to address publicly."

(UPDATE: Not that ESPN never reports on civil suits, or even plans to file civil suits, as evidenced by this from last month. Hmm.)

(New ESPN ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer is going to have a busy first column in August!)

Comments (21)

I didn't think it was possible for ESPN to lose any more credibility. I was wrong. How do you not even mention the suit?
It's news, period.

How can anyone take ESPN seriously?

Doesn't ESPN want to create a New York centric website? Well, good luck with that kind of reporting.

Yeah, call the new ESPN ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer - he'll get right on it. Sure. Just like when he was with NBC and his golf buddy got in trouble over some sort of alleged double murder.

Dear ESPN,

Report the news like the a real news organization. You may have a business relationship with Big Ben, but you still have a responsibility to your viewers, listeners, and readers. And you are giving us the lame excuse that it is a civil matter that hasn't been addressed yet...another credibility hit for the four letter network...nice decision from the suits.

It seems to me like ESPN has pick and choose which athletes they want to be buddy-buddy with. Certainly, Roethlisberger is one of them. And ESPN is soft when it comes to criticizing athletes.

Have any of you even read the AP account? This woman sounds like a mental patient, and she has no evidence of an assault that happened over a year ago, was neve reported to the authorities, and that there is no evidence of.

I hope someone sues each and every one of you for raping them and giving them herpes. Then maybe you'll think twice. I also hope the AP wire picks it up and they lead off the evening new in your town with that story.

Thank you for showing some restraint in your rush to judgment. You have comments on wall here like “report the new like the real news organization” but what that really means is jump to conclusions and crucify. Some say “You do have a responsibility to your readers…” yes, a responsibility to ensure that what they get is the truth. We need to change the way the media distorts truths and ruins lives. When and if there become solid facts then you can expect news but until then...innocent until proven guilty.

Of course ESPN can't run this story and raise the ire of Big Ben. Then he wouldn't appear on SportsCenter or PTI.

ESPN made the completely false allegation that the Patriots taped the Rams walkthrough prior to the 2002 front page news on the eve of the Patriots trying to complete a perfect season. That story regarding Matt Walsh was later found to be inaccurate and ESPN simply laid the blame at the feet of the Boston Herald, saying they were just reporting what the Herald was reporting.
It is commonly known ESPN does not "like" Belichick so perhaps that was motivation. Unfortunately, if news is news...then Big Ben needs to be front page - not the SportsGuy's father retiring as a school administrator.

Well, all I have to say is that as soon as Mike Vicks name was in some stuff ESPN didnt hold out. They attacked his name from start.


ESPN had no qualms about publishing the Shannon Brown story (LA Laker) LAST MONTH. In tha case, a women threatened to bring a civil suit, and ESPN published it.

This story must have come out of Cleveland!!!!! LOL!!!!

This story must have come out of Cleveland!!!!! LOL!!!!

look what micheal vick did he should stay in jail

look what micheal vick did he should stay in jail

The case sounds very fishy and this woman sounds a bit nutty so I tend to not believe these allegations. HOWEVER, ESPN really should have reported this. Reporting news doesn't mean they have to take a stance on this. They have in fact reported on civil cases before so that line is complete BS. They're basically trying to bury the story to most sports fans. I usually watch/read them soley for highlights or offseason signings and deals and whatnot. But what little (and it wasn't much to begin with) credibility they had as a "real" news organization they had with me is now lost.

Replace ESPN with MSG, and replace Ben Roethlisberger with Isiah Thomas, and we've got a reprise of a story-about-a-story from a couple of years ago.

I just noticed on the NFL page a link to the story is way down on the lower corner of the page under ABC news stories. The link doesn't mention Roethlisberger by name, it just says "Super Bowl QB." At least it's a start to reporting the story.

Good thing the WWL isn't starting up an ESPN Pittsburgh site. Would look pretty darn barren.

This is far more damaging to ESPN than any Erin Andrews peephole video.

Corporate censorship is a trait ESPN learned from ABC. Back in 1984 ABC News spiked three stories damaging to cronies of then-President Reagan. Last year ESPN spiked a story that put Brett Favre in an unflattering light.

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