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ESPN bans New York Post staffers from its outlets

ESPN retaliated Wednesday against the New York Post for its decision to use still images of Erin Andrews from an illegally obtained videotape, banning Post staffers from its various outlets, including its TV networks and 1050 ESPN Radio.

"In light of the New York Post's decision to run graphic photos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, we have decided to stop utilizing Post reporters on any of our outlets," ESPN's senior VP of communications, Chris LaPlaca said.

"Erin was grievously wronged here, and while we understand the Post's decision to cover this as a news story, their running photos obtained in such a fashion went well beyond the boundaries of common decency in the interest of sensationalism. This is not a decision we undertook lightly, but we feel it is an appropriate one."

The Post used images both in print and on its Web site Tuesday from a video the showed Andrews in the nude in a hotel room.

It is not yet clear where the video was shot or who shot it, but Andrews' attorney has promised legal action against any media outlet that publishes the material.

It has not been determined how long the ban on Post employees will remain in place.

Among those most affected are Kevin Kernan and Lenn Robbins, who regularly appear on "First Take" on ESPN2 and Joel Sherman, who appears on 1050 ESPN radio.

Mark Cannizzaro also appears periodically on ESPN outlets, and beat writers from various sports sometimes are interviewed in 1050 or other stations.

LaPlaca stressed it was the Post's use of the illicitly obtained photos, not the story itself, that was objectionable, and that the decision was not directed at the Post employees who have appeared on ESPN outlets, whom he called "innocent bystanders."

A spokesman for NewsCorp, which owns the Post, declined to comment. The Post's communications department did not respond to a request for comment.

CBS and Fox used snippets of the video itself Tuesday, which LaPlaca called "beyond the pale."

But he said ESPN could not take the kind of action against those networks it did against the Post because ESPN does not regularly employ those networks' personnel.

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