We openly wondered aloud yesterday why the Worldwide Leader had been dragging its feet in reporting the developments in this Ben Roethlisberger suit. A report stemming from an anonymous source at ESPN claims that the network was subject to a Do Not Report memo regarding the upcoming legal odyssey of the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback.
A media source tells [Pro Football Talk] that, late [Monday] night, ESPN issued a “do not report” memo to all of its outlets and reporters. The directive came without explanation. “Even some of the reporters are wondering why,” the source said, “but haven’t been told.”[…]
This time around, ESPN can’t claim that the report of a civil suit alleging sexual assault isn’t true. Clearly, it is; Roethlisberger has hired attorney David Cornwell, who has denied the allegations in a statement initially sent to us, and then sent to other media outlets. And we’ve seen, and reported on, the contents of the complaint. So in the absence of a legitimate reason from ESPN, we assume that there’s some other agenda at play here.via.
There’s been some bogus (in my opinion) discussion of ESPN’s policy to sit on civil cases not involving criminal complaints. But even if that were true, what good comes out of not reporting this when everyone else already has? As I said in my piece for the Washington Post’s NFL blog this morning, such a move kills the credibility of their news department. And that’s a shame, because the hard work of that group was trumped by the stroke of a pen from somebody upstairs. How’s the weather up in that ivory tower, ESPN? Some worldwide leader you turned out to be. [Orig. Posted 7/22/09]