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Why is ESPN ignoring the Roethlisberger story?


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Jul 15, 2009
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Ben Roethlisberger is being sued by a Nevada woman who claims that the Steelers quarterback raped her at her place of work, the Harrah's Lake Tahoe resort, one year ago. The NFL is conducting it's own investigation into the matter.

CBS Sportsline, CNN/SI, and Fox Sports are all reporting on the story. Even NFL.com is reporting on it.

ESPN is not.

As of this writing, the story does not appear in any form on the ESPN website nor has it been mentioned on Sportscenter.

Why would ESPN, the leader in sports television, choose to ignore this story?

Are they afraid it would take time away from covering Brett Favre?
Someone made a point on the radio that Ben is appearing in the first episode of some ABC sports reality show soon and they would hate for it to ruin all they spent. Sounds plausible since ABC and ESPN are together.
More fodder from profootballtalk.com, who has recently partnered with NBC Sports:

ESPN non-report of Roethlisberger story "embarrassing"

Posted by Mike Florio on July 22, 2009 12:10 PM ET

Though we've supposedly provided our final word regarding ESPN's policy regarding the reporting of civil lawsuits not accompanied by criminal charges, we're still monitoring the reaction to the situation.

John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer takes a great look at the situation, including a quote from ESPN vice president and director of news Vince Doria, who confirms that there is no black-and-white rule in these matters, despite an initial (and horribly inept) effort by ESPN to sell the notion that the network was merely adhering to a clear, non-discretionary internal policy.

Doria also told the Wall Street Journal that, in the end, he made the decision to duck the story.

"Those are the things that I think are damaging to reputations, and I think you need to know more about them before you report them," Doria said. "As it stands right now, today, we don't think it meets our standard of reporting."

But did ESPN feel the same way when Mike Fish recently reported the dismissal of a civil lawsuit alleging that Roberto Alomar gave his girlfriend AIDS? Speaking of Fish, did ESPN consider whether it was "damaging . . . reputations" when Bristol went bonkos for the unsubstantiated (and ultimately retracted) allegation that the Patriots had cheated the Rams out of a Super Bowl win?

Here's the reality. Though his motivations are subject to debate and likely will never be known, Doria got it wrong this time.

And plenty of ESPN employees know it.

Click on link for the remainder of the article.
I heard Czaban railing about this on his morning show. He does have a point, in that there does seem to be a certain disturbing 'selectiveness' in what sports media elects to cover vigorously, and what they don't. Of course Czaban, being Czaban, then totally invalidated his own argument by deeming the accuser 'too ugly' to have been sexually assaulted by someone like Big Ben, and then moving immediately into a diatribe gutting Kobi Bryant for 'raping that girl'. Guess it's human nature - guys we like get the benefit of the doubt, guys we don't are presumed guilty until proven otherwise (and even then...)

Odds are though, even if this story doesn't have a leg to stand on, it's going to get major major play in all venues before long. That's just the way it is. Ratings baby, ratings....
Time will tell.

However, it was (and is) a news story and ESPN should have reported it.

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