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ESPN reports on some civil suits, not others

ESPN 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."


(UPDATE: ESPN.com finally ran a story about Big Ben Wednesday night!)

Tags: ESPN

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