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Is ESPN trying to preserve its relationship with Roethlisberger?

NFL_roethlisberger4.jpgAs the current 600-pound elephant in the media room continues to be ESPN’s ongoing decision not to mention the civil claim of sexual harassment against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, others are beginning to notice.

The current lead item on Deadspin focuses in part on ESPN’s decision not to mention the case, but it’s still not clear why.  We’ve been trying to get an explanation directly from Bristol, but to no avail.

The obvious theory is that ESPN isn’t paying attention to it because one of the many ESPN NFL reporters didn’t report it. 

But there might be something deeper going on.

As our pal Todd Wright of Sporting News Radio pointed out, ESPN possibly doesn’t want to risk pissing Ben off, because ESPN needs to maintain its access to him.

For example, he did an interview last week with SportsCenter from Lake Tahoe, and he previously appeared for “Five Good Minutes” on PTI from the U.S. Open.

And our own Tom Curran points out that Roethlisberger will appear in an August episode of Shaquille O’Neal’s new reality show, which will be televised by ESPN’s sister network, ABC.

So why alienate the starting quarterback from the defending Super Bowl champs, on one of the highest-profile teams in the NFL? 

The same approach was suspected by some (i.e., us) last year, when FOX’s Jay Glazer reported that Brett Favre funneled information regarding the Packers’ offense to the Lions, and ESPN thereafter ignored it.

Why?  Because we think they eventually want to hire Favre.  In the interim, they want to have unlimited access to Favre, his wife, and his agent, Bus Cook.

So Todd Wright might have the answer.  Either way, there’s something more to this one than meets the eye.  Otherwise, our eyes would be seeing something about Roethlisberger’s civil lawsuit on ESPN or ESPN.com.
 

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54 Responses to “Is ESPN trying to preserve its relationship with Roethlisberger?”
  1. Abe Froeman says: Jul 21, 2009 12:58 PM

    Dig deeper here. You’re onto something.

  2. Nam Huynh says: Jul 21, 2009 1:00 PM

    I hate to say this, but Ben is white. When you’re a white athlete, the media attacks you less. Matt Jones for example. People didn’t know this guy smoked crack and everything else until he was actually released!
    Randy Moss bumps a traffic offer.. ESPN all over it.
    It’s pure racism.

  3. Revacard says: Jul 21, 2009 1:01 PM

    It makes you think ESPN needs to be broken up. So many conflict of interests.

  4. orangecrushd says: Jul 21, 2009 1:03 PM

    Are you applying for the ESPN ombudsman postion?

  5. Finnegans Wake says: Jul 21, 2009 1:03 PM

    Maybe ESPN, unlike PFT, can smell a load of feces.
    Najeh Davenport could drop a winder in your laundry basket, and you’d be poking at it and theorizing about whether it might be a Tootsie Roll, or possibly an enlarged Snickers bar. Everyone else knows it’s scheiss.

  6. stumpy-p says: Jul 21, 2009 1:05 PM

    Unless they are broadcasting a game ESPN is useless anyway.

  7. jwill007 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:05 PM

    ESPN Sucks…..If it was a Bengal player they would have the satellite trucks in front of the victims home and interviews at PBS Headquarters..Keep pushin Florio expose their a–es for suckin on Ben’s B—s………

  8. lawofmurphy says: Jul 21, 2009 1:06 PM

    Reason #1,050,204 why ESPN sucks and is bad for sports…

  9. pittpen says: Jul 21, 2009 1:06 PM

    It certainly is odd that ESPN has refused to report this. I have noticed TSN and Fox Sports reporting this, but not ESPN. There has to be something else going on here.

  10. Akshun says: Jul 21, 2009 1:06 PM

    Florio, are you trying to put this website under? You’re killin us with these crappy stories that noone cares about…

  11. ADogDC says: Jul 21, 2009 1:06 PM

    No NEws is No News……
    Might not be credible enough to their standards…

  12. 90ragtop says: Jul 21, 2009 1:07 PM

    “As the current 600-pound elephant in the media room continues to be ESPN’s ongoing decision not to mention the civil claim of sexual harassment …”
    When you think about it, a 600-pound elephant isn’t very big.

  13. bucc19 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:11 PM

    I totally agree with this. Look how ESPN (especially Chris Mortenson) have given Favre a free pass. The guy has done nothing but lied the past year regarding his “retirement” his un-retirement, his retireing again, why he pleaded with the jets to release him all that crap, giving the Lions info, and all ESPN, can do is remind us how “he just loves to play football, look at him, playing with those high school kids”. Reminds me of the Kennedys, and how they had all those pictures of them being this fun-loving, healthy happy family, those pics were all staged. Espn, is like that with all those guys. I also think ESPN is racially biased, I mean, can you imagine if Mcnabb pulled this Favre shit , or if Jamarcus Russell or Dante Culpepper are being accused of what Rothlisberger is? ESPN makes me sick, can’t even watch them anymore,

  14. footballisking says: Jul 21, 2009 1:11 PM

    This woman is just trying to get cash….why else in the hell is she not going for criminal charges…..

  15. DePack says: Jul 21, 2009 1:12 PM

    Maybe they are actually checking into it before reporting it. How did that “Favre giving the playbook to the Lions” play out. Maybe they should jump on every story and rumor just so they can post it on their website for more “hits”.
    Hell, they were even slow on that “Terry Bradshaw is dead” bombshell you broke a couple years ago…..still haven’t read a word about that on ESPN.com.

  16. Desides says: Jul 21, 2009 1:14 PM

    ESPN ought to be worried about preserving its relationship with its viewers. At this point, ESPN is a self-parodying joke.
    NFL Network has some bozos (Jamie Dukes, Deion Sanders) but on the whole their professionalism and coverage is leagues beyond anything ESPN is capable of right now. And it’s a shame FOX Sports never matured beyond punchline status. ESPN needs competition.

  17. darkchild says: Jul 21, 2009 1:15 PM

    If he was a black athlete they wouldve had an ESPN special about it already. Kobe Bryant was crucified in the media. Sure this case is a little sketchy, seeing that she didnt file any criminal charges, but it’s ESPN’s duty to report the SPorts related news.
    And they say racism is dead.

  18. Espnsux says: Jul 21, 2009 1:16 PM

    ESPN would never run with a story and report it for all to read unless they are 100% certain that it is true and have corroborating evidence. If they did do it and it was later proven false and the original source even goes as far as to issue a public apology to the victim of the falsehood, ESPN would never continue to report it and have their former-athlete talking heads continue to speculate on it as if it were fact. No, ESPN would never do that….Oh wait, they did.
    Either they learned their lesson or they SUCK as much as most of us think they do. How embarrassing to have this story about a prominent sports figure reported virtually everywhere else except on the most prominent sports station in America. It’s an allegation. Report it as so.
    ESPN SUCKS!!

  19. EdReed4prez says: Jul 21, 2009 1:16 PM

    since when is rape considered sexual harassment Florio?

  20. mastodon says: Jul 21, 2009 1:18 PM

    I stopped watching Sportscenter a while back. It is nothing but fluff and rarely interesting or informative.

  21. VoxVeritas says: Jul 21, 2009 1:20 PM

    “I hate to say this, but Ben is white. When you’re a white athlete, the media attacks you less. Matt Jones for example. People didn’t know this guy smoked crack and everything else until he was actually released!
    Randy Moss bumps a traffic offer.. ESPN all over it.
    It’s pure racism.”
    You may be right. White guy gets caught smuggling narcotics across the border, not only does he get away with it from a legal standpoint, Goodell gives him a pass and you have to dig for stories about it. The only person I know that knows who Nick Kaczur is is me. Now imagine the media frenzy that would ensue if TO gets stopped for speeding and a cop sees a roach in his ashtray.

  22. dlcreed44 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:20 PM

    I bet if it was Romo ESPN would be all over it..its not just black/white…its like/dislike

  23. TheVillain112 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:22 PM

    If your going to have an athlete on a new show “Shaq vs.”. It probably isn’t good if that individual is going through a public sexual assault case.
    This has everything to do with the individual and nothing to do with the merits of “is there enough to do a story on it”. I mean this is the same network that’s airing Pacman’s making it rain video several months after the fact.
    I will say this though, although their motives are suspect it probably is a good thing that they are not reporting it. They should do their homework and if this really is something then report on it. If not don’t bring a man’s reputation down.

  24. Travis says: Jul 21, 2009 1:23 PM

    It’s simply a matter of the facts haven’t been established. Why report on speculation.

  25. VoxVeritas says: Jul 21, 2009 1:23 PM

    “This woman is just trying to get cash….why else in the hell is she not going for criminal charges…..”
    Maybe she realizes that pursuing justice against professional sports figures is usually a snipe hunt.

  26. igglesfan74 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:24 PM

    Maybe they aren’t reporting it because there are no criminal charges.
    I think they would be reporting it if it was in a criminal phase right now it is just a civil suit for monetary damages.

  27. Rob0729 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:28 PM

    So you are saying that ESPN has an agenda in their reporting? Can’t be! You mean they won’t put anything disparaging about Ben because they have a money making relationship with them. You mean when they go overboard attacking the Pats or Cowboys it isn’t because they are just being fair and balanced, but that they have a contentious relationship where both teams block access to their reporters?
    ESPN has always let their own agendas bias their reporting. In fairness to them, many news organizations do the same.

  28. patsSB44champs says: Jul 21, 2009 1:29 PM

    Ask any Patriots fan what they think of ESPN. None of us will ever forget ESPN treating Matt Walsh like a hero for months and months before he came out with… snake oil. It was truly Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone’s empty vault all over again.
    Throw that in with their incessant coverage of the Colts (largely before they finally won the Super Bowl) and continuing to bring Mercury Morris out of the crack house every year to talk about undefeated teams, and you have what Jason Whitlock calls “The Worldwide Misleader.”
    http://msn.foxsports.com/cfb/story/8853534/The-story-ESPN-doesn't-want-you-to-know

  29. Somnambulus says: Jul 21, 2009 1:30 PM

    DePack says: July 21, 2009 1:12 PM
    Maybe they are actually checking into it before reporting it. How did that “Favre giving the playbook to the Lions” play out. Maybe they should jump on every story and rumor just so they can post it on their website for more “hits”.
    ———-
    Ok, fine. But the fact that a civil suit has been filed is indisputable. Were they to report Rapistburger guilty, well, *then* we might question the veracity of their reporting.
    Keeping news that might damage Rapistburger’s public image off of ESPN is not reflective of “fact-checking” but rather fact avoidance.

  30. Sportygal says: Jul 21, 2009 1:30 PM

    Even if this accusation is baseless, which it sounds like it may be, ESPN should be reporting it.

  31. vbeach31 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:30 PM

    I think regardless of whether he is guilty or innicent, ESPN is irresponsible for not reporting on this. How bias can you be. They had no problem reporting a video of Pacman 3 years ago, right before he hopes to sign with a team before training camp. They had no problem reporting anything T.O did last season while in Dallas, including blowing his nose..lol. If your going to be a media outlet that specifically reports on sports stories, than report everyone equally. ESPN is turning into the Fox News of the sports world

  32. Rob0729 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:31 PM

    I don’t think it is a race issue, it is how does this athlete or organization benefit ESPN issue. If ESPN can get something out of the athlete or organization, they will tread lightly. If there is no strategic advantage for going for the throat, they will pounce.

  33. tkebean says: Jul 21, 2009 1:32 PM

    Maybe ESPN realizes the story is complete B.S. and they decided not to buy into this whack-job’s attempt at defaming Roethlisberger for money.

  34. darth_vincent says: Jul 21, 2009 1:36 PM

    ESPN continues to protect Brett (from himself mostly)… and now they’ll protect Ben (from himself mostly). And all it would take is a These are the claims, my client denies everything… type of quote and then ESPN could let it go to pasture and never report on it again…
    I’m leaning towards the “our reporters didn’t source the report it so we’re not running with it” type of lameness that infects all media organizations that try to decide what info to provide and what info to hide.
    It’s why I love PFT! We get it ALL!!!

  35. CurseofBoJackson says: Jul 21, 2009 1:36 PM

    Maybe they don’t want to be wrong? Don’t want to report something that isn’t news? C’mon, it’s a rape allegation against a great young quarterback on a high profile team, and ESPN is as bad as any other news outlet about making a dime off a story, has to be something else going on, what a joke. And, yes, if this were Jamarcus Russell, Tavaris Jackson, or Donovan McNabb, this would be all over the television and most pundits would not be so quick to call a hault to unnecessary allegations, or to call for keeping an open mind about the case.

  36. empty13 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:37 PM

    racism, eh?
    look at crime stats. victims are usually caucasian. the defacto per capita leaders in crime are…
    blacks and illegals.
    them’s the real haters.

  37. jharmon64 says: Jul 21, 2009 1:37 PM

    ESPN needs to do the right thing. Which is to report there is a suit pending, but not speculate until the facts come to light.

  38. RaidersSavior says: Jul 21, 2009 1:41 PM

    Nam Huynh says:
    July 21, 2009 1:00 PM
    I hate to say this, but Ben is white. When you’re a white athlete, the media attacks you less. Matt Jones for example. People didn’t know this guy smoked crack and everything else until he was actually released!
    Randy Moss bumps a traffic offer.. ESPN all over it.
    It’s pure racism.
    ______________________________________________________________________
    I’m white. And you’re a f*cking moron. Go Shoot yourself.
    Racism? Really? Why is EVERYTHING black this, white that, hispanic the other thing.
    Shoot yourself – please.
    That has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING. This is an NFL blog. If you want racism… go read the black panthers site.
    Until then. shoot yourself. and take your “reverse discrimination/racist comments elsewhere.”

  39. RaidersSavior says: Jul 21, 2009 1:54 PM

    PS -
    Now that the race card’s out of the way (which always seems to be pulled by some ignorant, dumb f*ck), I personally think this story will end in an out of court settlement.
    The fact that she said “I’m not on birth control” shows she wasn’t really fighting him off, which, anyone put in the position of being “raped” would most certainly do.
    As for Big Ben – stupidity lends itself to bad judgment. What was he thinking inviting some random girl to his hotel room? That’s just asking for trouble. Ask Mike Tyson.

  40. DePack says: Jul 21, 2009 1:55 PM

    “It’s why I love PFT! We get it ALL!!!”
    Including the “Terry Bradshaw is dead” stories.
    You guys talk about ESPN’s agenda. C’mon….Florio’s obsession/agenda against ESPN makes that 600 pound elephant (I believe they are born bigger than that) look like a gnat. Why would Florio have an axe to grind with ESPN?
    Maybe because they fired his ass?

  41. Real Football Fan says: Jul 21, 2009 2:01 PM

    This is the reason there is a real need for another sports network. BSPN has crossed over and sold their collective soul to primarily be an entertainment platform. However, there are fans out here who want less of that garbage and more objective coverage. BSPN is as bad as the various “news” networks, which put forth pathetic dribble with an agenda.
    While I’m not a huge baseball fan, the MLB network has gotten it right and hopefully the NFL network will continue to revamp their product to be more in line with that model. There’s a happy medium between information and entertainment.

  42. empty13 says: Jul 21, 2009 2:02 PM

    plenty of people knew matt jones used the stuff. it was even on espn.

  43. vbeach31 says: Jul 21, 2009 2:09 PM

    I’m not even going to say racism, I’m just going to call it like i see it, Kobe, who is the best player in the NBA, was crucified by the media, lost his sponsors and was basically assumed to be guilty. I just want to see how Big Ben is treated. I smell the stinch of a double standard. How is this not even mentioned by ESPN, they dont have to pick a side, but they should at least report that charges have been filed against him. Last time i checked, sexual assault is a pretty serious offense. But I guess Matt Jones, a former 1st round draft pick, getting caught snorting his career away in Arkansas, isn’t a story either

  44. ZombieRevolution says: Jul 21, 2009 2:10 PM

    Florio writes “Why? Because we think….”. This is the epitome of a Florio special- all speculation in the absence of real facts. You are taking on a big boy, not because you are any better (and you’re not) but because you sense possible blood in the water.

  45. Nam Huynh says: Jul 21, 2009 2:18 PM

    RaidersSavior, I laugh at you. You Raiders fans are as legit as Iran’s Presidential Election.

  46. Nam Huynh says: Jul 21, 2009 2:28 PM

    I mention the possibility of racism and a white guy tells me to shoot myself.
    Something wrong with this?

  47. RaidersSavior says: Jul 21, 2009 2:32 PM

    Topic number two that must be covered in ANY discussion according to PFT rules of etiquette…
    politics.
    Undoubtedly, and without fail… some moron will pull the race card in ever article… and another moron will follow it up with some outlandish political reference. Uncanny… really.
    This is unprecedented though. The same moron brings up Race, and then politics. Wow.
    And- just an FYI… Iran’s Presidential election was determined to be valid by the Guardians Council (in case you’re not politically savvy enough, which I doubt you are – they are the people who determine the validity of elections in Iran, lead by the Ayatollah).
    So, I guess that makes Raiders fans pretty legit.
    Let’s try an experiment shall we – let’s see if we can take one of Florio’s speculative articles, and see if we can get through a whole discussion without mention “it’s because hes black/white” or the word “president.”
    It’ll never happen – kinda like Ben “raping” this willing participant. Sorry folks. He’s innocent.

  48. RaidersSavior says: Jul 21, 2009 2:34 PM

    Topic number two that must be covered in ANY discussion according to PFT rules of etiquette…
    politics.
    Undoubtedly, and without fail… some moron will pull the race card in ever article… and another moron will follow it up with some outlandish political reference. Uncanny… really.
    This is unprecedented though. The same moron brings up Race, and then politics. Wow.
    And- just an FYI… Iran’s Presidential election was determined to be valid by the Guardians Council (in case you’re not politically savvy enough, which I doubt you are – they are the people who determine the validity of elections in Iran, lead by the Ayatollah).
    So, I guess that makes Raiders fans pretty legit.
    Let’s try an experiment shall we – let’s see if we can take one of Florio’s speculative articles, and see if we can get through a whole discussion without mention “it’s because hes black/white” or the word “president.”
    It’ll never happen – kinda like Ben “raping” this willing participant. Sorry folks. He’s innocent – and that’s coming from a Raiders fan.

  49. bbq says: Jul 21, 2009 2:46 PM

    Nam Huynh said:
    “I hate to say this, but Ben is white. When you’re a white athlete, the media attacks you less. Matt Jones for example. People didn’t know this guy smoked crack and everything else until he was actually released!”
    OK.. first of all, Matt Jones did not smoke crack. He was caught with cocaine. There is a difference.
    Second, yes people DID know. I knew that he was caught in his car with cocaine right after it happened and before he served his sentence.
    Cry racism all you want, but it’s bullshit.

  50. Abe Froeman says: Jul 21, 2009 3:03 PM

    RaidersSavior – did you just sight the Guardians Council’s decision? You’re an effing moron.

  51. Abe Froeman says: Jul 21, 2009 3:04 PM

    Learn what you’re talking about before you start typing shit you know nothing about.

  52. Terrell Blowens says: Jul 21, 2009 3:13 PM

    It’s probably unhealthy to hate ESPN this much, Mike

  53. RaidersSavior says: Jul 21, 2009 3:25 PM

    @Abe Froeman:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2009/06/29/2009-06-29_iran_recount_seen_as_means_of_placating_protestors.html
    Oh – and tell your mother she needs to clean it up a little better next time – it smelled a little dirty.
    She tried to give me her number, but I told her I didn’t want it. I’ll stick to meeting her in the highway truck stall.
    Thanks.

  54. RaidersSavior says: Jul 21, 2009 3:56 PM

    @abe Froeman
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2009/06/29/2009-06-29_iran_recount_seen_as_means_of_placating_protestors.html
    PS – What’s the difference between you, and an Ill Mallard?
    One’s a sick duck. I forget how the rest goes, but your mother’s a whore. :)

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