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Too little, too late from ESPN on Roethlisberger

ESPN spokesman Mac Nwulu has provided us with a statement from the folks in Bristol regarding their decision not to mention the civil sexual assault suit against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which to our knowledge has been ignored by every national ESPN platform, with the exception of a player page onto which a blurb from the ESPN/ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh leaked earlier today, as pointed out by Deadspin.

“At this point, we are not reporting the allegations against Ben Roethlisberger because no criminal complaint has been filed,” Nwulu said.  “As far as we know, this is a civil lawsuit that Roethlisberger has yet to address publicly.”

Actually, Roethlisberger has addressed the lawsuit publicly, via a Monday night statement from lawyer David Cornwell, who has been retained to represent Roethlisberger. 

And let’s be realistic about it.  If he’s smart (and, frankly, the jury is still out on that one), Ben won’t ever comment on the case publicly, other than to say, “No comment.”

Besides, we don’t buy for a minute the notion that a civil claim unaccompanied by a criminal complaint makes the situation not newsworthy.  Indeed, ESPN posted last night on its NFL page a blurb from the AP regarding the civil suit filed by former NFL kicker Tony Zendejas, in which he claims a violation of his civil rights in connection with, coincidentally, a rape prosecution.

In that case, have the folks who allegedly violated the civil rights of Zendejas been charged criminally?  Nope.  But that hasn’t kept ESPN from posting the AP item.

And that’s the kicker on this one — ESPN uses stuff from the AP all the time, and the AP has issued a story about the lawsuit against Roethlisberger.

So while we appreciate the fact that ESPN provided us with a statement, we choose to regard it as a hollow attempt to explain away what appears to be a strategy for remaining in the good graces of Ben Roethlisberger.

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65 Responses to “Too little, too late from ESPN on Roethlisberger”
  1. Phyxsius says: Jul 21, 2009 4:39 PM

    ESPN is a bunch of hypocrites. They were all over Marvin Harrison last offseason and there was no criminal case against him, just a civil case.

  2. JustinG says: Jul 21, 2009 4:43 PM

    Dude… get off of ESPN’s gonads. You (Florio) always act like you’re in competition with ESPN. Newsflash: They don’t really give a hoot about you. They are owned by Disney. They aren’t going anywhere. You’re a small fish in a small pond, just like Rotoworld. Keep pimping Sprint phones. LOL.

  3. darth_vincent says: Jul 21, 2009 4:43 PM

    espn doesn’t care what you or I think…. they won’t even be embarrassed when they have to report on the conclusion to a story that they never reported in the first place…
    have they even bothered to report that Ben cancelled his press conference… or do we wait for the new ESPN negotiated interview with no questions on anything controversial…

  4. FLPackerBacker says: Jul 21, 2009 4:43 PM

    The biggest joke of all is that this is not “just” a story showing up on PFT and Deadspin. It’s one of the headlines on Foxsports.com’s NFL page as well as a top item on SI.com.
    But ESPN’s standard of shoddy journalism is well known at this point, so why continue to smash on this point?

  5. raiders177 says: Jul 21, 2009 4:44 PM

    neat.

  6. superfan99 says: Jul 21, 2009 4:45 PM

    Holy cow Florio, stop complaining. ESPN is doing this site a huge favor by not running the story.

  7. ZombieRevolution says: Jul 21, 2009 4:47 PM

    ESPN is famous for its biased reporting, just as you are becoming. I know this is a story that this site “broke”, but really, how news worthy is it that ESPN won’t report your story?

  8. PFTFuctme N. Changedmyname says: Jul 21, 2009 4:48 PM

    Maybe they just didn’t want to get raped, too…
    They should get Stuart Scott to “keep an eye out”, though, just in case.
    ESPN:
    Exempt
    Superstar’s
    Penetration
    Nonexistent
    Way to slam those barn doors after the cows have escaped, you droning sensationalistic trendy douche nozzles.

  9. hayward giablommi says: Jul 21, 2009 4:48 PM

    ESPN is a complete and utter disgrace.
    They are really no different than the rest of the mainstream media which presents meaningless fluff, while bowing to lobbyists and corporations to censor the real news that people need to know. Its all agenda driven. Pathetic.

  10. PFTiswhatitis says: Jul 21, 2009 4:48 PM

    Tsk Tsk ESPN. Caught in your lame politics oce again. Doesn’t really matter though, after your coverage of spygate, only the deadbeats and morons pay attention to what you report.

  11. IndyWilson says: Jul 21, 2009 4:49 PM

    I’m confused as to why you care if ESPN is reporting this story. Maybe a little insecurity on your part?

  12. Citizen Strange says: Jul 21, 2009 4:52 PM

    Jesus, in the TMZ pics Andrea McNulty looks like Roethlisberger’s twin sister. Was Roethlisberger watching TV through beer goggles by any chance?

  13. AmhaTek says: Jul 21, 2009 4:53 PM

    My TV never turned from ESPN for a very long time. Ever since I started getting NFLN and started reading this site several years ago I had ZERO need for ESPN. They are just awful. They have far to many anchors/reporters whatever you call them and most of them make to many lame attempts to be funny. I much prefer Rich Eisen and the crew at NFLN, if they make jokes its more natural and not forced. And guess what they actually talk about football. Cant stand ESPN anymore, esp after last yrs non-reporting of the Favre issue. I no longer see them as unbias, they’re more interested in playing the game then they are in reporting the game. I’m disappointed that Schefter has made the switch. The only time I watch ESPN now is for MNF.

  14. Gmanc711 says: Jul 21, 2009 4:55 PM

    Mike,
    No joke. I really appreciate what you do, I come to the site all the time for rumors and updates. but stuff like this is just so stupid. What do you care if ESPN doesn’t cover the story. Any journalist covering a legiamate story doesn’t want anyone else covering it. Everytime you blast ESPN for crap like this just makes you look like someone who is crying over not getting a job with them or them wronging you in some way or something like that. Just keep covering football stories… no one gives two **** if ESPN covers it or not.

  15. jwill007 says: Jul 21, 2009 4:55 PM

    GET EM FLORIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is what I like about you and the site…CALL THESE SCHMUCKS OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Gmanc711 says: Jul 21, 2009 4:55 PM

    Mike,
    No joke. I really appreciate what you do, I come to the site all the time for rumors and updates. but stuff like this is just so stupid. What do you care if ESPN doesn’t cover the story. Any journalist covering a legiamate story doesn’t want anyone else covering it. Everytime you blast ESPN for crap like this just makes you look like someone who is crying over not getting a job with them or them wronging you in some way or something like that. Just keep covering football stories… no one gives two **** if ESPN covers it or not.

  17. Raider Pride says: Jul 21, 2009 4:56 PM

    Or… Perhaps ESPN had the photos of the accuser from the begining…
    And TSN their Canadian affiliate told them not to run the story, worried that Tourism Canada could take a huge financial hit.

  18. Ravens Fan says: Jul 21, 2009 4:57 PM

    “And that’s the kicker on this one” No pun intended.

  19. espn bias says: Jul 21, 2009 4:58 PM

    But they will immediately post a gossip article about a homeless man stealing gardening tools from the back on Tom Brady’s condo in Boston

  20. blc2000 says: Jul 21, 2009 4:59 PM

    ESPN is a joke. They have their heads halfway up the you-know-whats of the athletes they cover, who win and who they can market. Let’s face it: The network is one big marketing company.

  21. TFBuckFutter says: Jul 21, 2009 5:00 PM

    “FLPackerBacker says:
    July 21, 2009 4:43 PM
    The biggest joke of all is that this is not “just” a story showing up on PFT and Deadspin. It’s one of the headlines on Foxsports.com’s NFL page as well as a top item on SI.com.”
    It was on my damn local papers’ website, and I don’t live anywhere near Pittsburgh.

  22. Football says: Jul 21, 2009 5:00 PM

    ESPN was all over the story about Chad Johnson being named as a co-defendant in a lawsuit against a comedy club where Chad was the MC.

  23. CrasMack says: Jul 21, 2009 5:05 PM

    ESPN: A disgrace to the ethics and standards of journalism.
    What a horrible organization.

  24. tj.52 says: Jul 21, 2009 5:06 PM

    So according to ESPN they do not report substantiated, NFL related news.
    But when an unsubstantiated second-hand accusation from a fat stupid jackass and a bitter not-so-good golf resort loser comes along, boy they are all over that aren’t they.
    Stay classy, ESPN. Stay classy.

  25. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says: Jul 21, 2009 5:07 PM

    Once “The World-Wide Leader” decides to cover it they’ll use their famous line:
    “ESPN confirms…”

  26. RexRyan'sStressedLapband says: Jul 21, 2009 5:08 PM

    Off topic…but I think it’s great you decided to fix the fact that the whole story was showing up in my feed before you brought back comment ratings. Now I have to keep coming to the page to read it, thereby bumping up your numbers. Way to prioritize guys.
    At least I know where you stand now that you are gumming NBC’s sack.

  27. BottleKnockers says: Jul 21, 2009 5:10 PM

    I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!!!???

  28. jliskiew says: Jul 21, 2009 5:10 PM

    Mike, keep turning up the heat on this one, you’re doing the right thing outing ESPN…
    It’s time the MSM realizes that only a small portion of their audience has the mental acuity of a flock of sheep – This is not just an ESPN problem, its everywhere – MSNBC, Fox, ABC, etc., etc….
    Like you, Florio, I am interested to see what, if anything, the new ombudsman at ESPN.com has to say about this…

  29. TSE says: Jul 21, 2009 5:11 PM

    ESPN is nothing more than an organization of unprofessional, inadqueate, and incompetent pricks who don’t know how to report and cover sports in a satisfactory fashion.
    I’m the biggest sports fan in the world, but I am also the biggest hater of inferior complementary sports organizations like ESPN.
    Overall, ESPN deserves an F grade from me. I constantly hope that some other entity will one day rise and put these losers out of business.
    It shocks me that there is not somebody out there working on that. With all the power and money some people have it would be a brilliant business opportunity to develop an ESPN rival, and it would be simple to embarrass them out of the business with the right planning and patience.

  30. straverse says: Jul 21, 2009 5:14 PM

    Damn, what is this, “lets see how many articles we can post on one story” day? What’s it been, like 12 already?

  31. TSE says: Jul 21, 2009 5:15 PM

    fyi, PFT should read my comment above carefully, if I was PFT I would be talking to NBC about incubating an ESPN competitor!

  32. GEAUX_SAINTS says: Jul 21, 2009 5:16 PM

    Had this story been about T.O., Michael Vick, Clinton Portis or Chad Ocho-Cinco, then ESPN would have been all over it.
    But its not, its about a golden-boy QB of a popular franchise and thus, ESPN won’t touch it.
    CNNSI has it as a side bar story. Had it been about one of aforementioned other athletes, then it would have been front page news.
    Double-standard much?

  33. Devils Advocate says: Jul 21, 2009 5:16 PM

    ESPN and the “BIGBEN SEXGATE” = double standard.
    Tony Zendejas was a nobody so we can burn him. But BIGBEN we have to cover his a$$ because he plays ball with us.
    unethical scumbags!
    ESPN you are lower than whale turds.

  34. mikemess says: Jul 21, 2009 5:17 PM

    ESPN thinks they are above reproach. Holier than thou. Everything has the agenda of a cartel.
    False pride and they continue to look foolish to the knowledgeable sports fan. Ben is their pal and they need him this season!

  35. bbq says: Jul 21, 2009 5:17 PM

    ESPN probably hasn’t mentioned it because this story is complete and utter bullshit. It’s pretty clear that McNulty is a sue-happy bitch looking to cash in, and I suppose ESPN sees no reason to defame a Super Bowl hero with this kind of garbage. These kinds of claims against someone’s character can really ruin lives.
    But no, I suppose ESPN is just evil. I like most of the stuff you do, Florio, but the ESPN vendetta is just ignorant.

  36. igglesfan74 says: Jul 21, 2009 5:18 PM

    Florio,
    Not only do you get 3 or 4 posts out of the Not-so-gentle Ben story, but you get 3 or 4 more from the non-espn reporting headlines.
    You should be happy-plenty to type today.

  37. bbq says: Jul 21, 2009 5:18 PM

    ESPN probably hasn’t mentioned it because this story is complete and utter bullshit. It’s pretty clear that McNulty is a sue-happy bitch looking to cash in, and I suppose ESPN sees no reason to defame a Super Bowl hero with this kind of garbage. These kinds of claims against someone’s character can really ruin lives.
    But no, I suppose ESPN is just evil. I like most of the stuff you do, Florio, but the ESPN vendetta is just ignorant.

  38. Stone says: Jul 21, 2009 5:21 PM

    Has anyone ever done any research on ESPN’s treatment of white vs. black athletes? I’d be curious to know if this is merely a marketing/business decision on their part or if they are intent on playing into the country’s racial biases. (e.g. report on every black athlete’s civil or criminal charges but ignore or marginalize white athlete’s same) I’m sure this is a reach but I’m still curious.

  39. This is not news says: Jul 21, 2009 5:23 PM

    There is still time left for a few more articles about Roethlisberger.

  40. gldnboot13 says: Jul 21, 2009 5:23 PM

    I agree it’s a little odd that ESPN would be hesitant to report this story. But, maybe they are trying to get their facts straight given rape scandals against big names (Kobe, Duke) last for months in the news and often make more journalists look bad than good.
    But Florio, you just sound like a blogger sitting in your mom’s basement when you go on these rants. Your site just got bought by NBC, you provide great insight into the NFL, but leave these topics out please. It destroys your respectability in my eyes and probably others. Don’t try to toe the line between comedic blog and real news site, it doesn’t work. Keep providing your unique insight and leave the grilling of ESPN to the blogs that provide little more than comedic opinion and a cheap laugh. (Don’t get me wrong, I like the blogs, but for a different reason than why I come to this site.)

  41. Paul Hanna says: Jul 21, 2009 5:24 PM

    Apparently Florio’s biatch (Not Rosenthal and Curran, the one not employed by NBC), aka Adam Schefter, didn’t get that “DNR” alert…
    http://twitter.com/Adam_Schefter/status/2751385858

  42. AlanSaysYo says: Jul 21, 2009 5:26 PM

    Don’t pretend this is the first time ESPN has lacked journalistic integrity, commenters. They’ve been doing this for years. They think they’re big enough to dictate the news cycle. And they may be right. But we really shouldn’t expect anything better from them. They’ve been dumbing down their programming steadily for the past decade, and it’s quite clear they have an agenda other than pure reporting.

  43. Rasputin says: Jul 21, 2009 5:28 PM

    Now if you really wanna go all Woodward and Bernstein, see if you can find email/text-message/phone communications between Bristol and Berchtesgarden … er … Goodell’s office telling them that it would be in ESPN’s best interest to not run the story. You want to make PFT famous overnight, that’s how you do it. Topple the commissioner and the “leader” in sports TV in one shot.
    Although, in reality, Americans are so used to corruption in the media and at the executive level, I doubt most people would say more than: “Yeah, so what? Is Favre coming back or not?”

  44. The same Steeler Chad says: Jul 21, 2009 5:38 PM

    she got a promotion!
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/andrea-mcnulty/a/1a8/78a

  45. rebecca30 says: Jul 21, 2009 5:39 PM

    Just looked online and the Pittsburgh paper the Post just released two stories about it. And a local CBS station in my city (Indianapolis) just ran a storie about it. SI.COM and FOX Sports has stories, looks like ESPN is the only one ignoring it.

  46. INVAIDUH says: Jul 21, 2009 5:41 PM

    ESPN SUX.

  47. girlsloveD says: Jul 21, 2009 5:44 PM

    Two clearly distinct discussions related to this topic from a D.C. Native life long (but clear minded) Steeler Fan.
    Firstly, ESPN has a responsibility to report all significant sports related stories. They may truly be guilty of burying the lead on this story.
    On what is clearly the more important issue, it is tragic that so many people will rush to judgement clouded by disdain of BR and or the Steelers Organization. As both a former police officer (6 years), and a life long sports fan in general, I have seen more than my share of false allegations of rape among other crimes.
    IF he did it, he will DESERVE and face the consequences. Until then, it is truly shameful that in the country we live in that people would lose perspective about the presumption of innocence.

  48. ihateskelator says: Jul 21, 2009 5:45 PM

    Here’s what I know about the boys at ESPN: Chrissy Berman is as old and tired as Walter Cronkite; he’s just not had the decency to die;
    Stuart Scott, also known as “Carlton” grew up and away from Fresh Prince and he’s nauseating. Absoultely nauseating. Memo to SS: stop trying to pick up women on national tv. It’s emabarassing and nauseating;
    John Anderson, quite bright and capable, flushed all that down the crapper with his insistence to participate on “Wipeout!”. Oh, yeah, I see Edward R. Murrow doing that. Ask Mike Adamle how that worked out for him on American Gladiators;
    Mike Golic once said that the Beatles were overrated. In the history of stupid statements, that will forever reign as the stupidiest of stupid statements. Career stats: 11.5 sacks and 3 interceptions IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER!!!!!!!! I gotta listen to his fatso with a bad opinon, huge gut and 11 1/2 sacks IN HIS CAREER??AND he’s an admitted steroids guy, too!
    Even Danny Patrick is getting old and tired. Smarmy, sarcastic, bunch of hair jokes…enough already
    I HATE THIS CHANNEL. HATE ‘EM.

  49. PhillyChef123 says: Jul 21, 2009 5:45 PM

    So the suits @ ABC called Bristol and told them their little realty(barf!) show might get dinged a bit if Big Ben got knocked down a few pegs…..nawh, that would never happen! What a useless excuse for a sports network!

  50. blackglass says: Jul 21, 2009 5:50 PM

    Good job, Florio. What these dunces don’t get is ESPN is supposed to report SPORTS NEWS. Guess what guys, this IS SPORTS NEWS. ESPN is picking and choosing what they feel the need to make a big deal out of, and that is the problem. Remember Summer 2007? They were the first ones to get in on the Micahel Vick Dogfighting thing, BEFORE there were any “substantiated” reports. But now the white, All American QB is accused of something about 100 times worse than what Vick did, and ESPN wants to wait and see what happens.
    It’s just sickening. It’s racist, it’s pandering to Ben and Steeler fans, and it completely lacks journalistic integrity.
    Thank you for making this site, Florio. I stopped going to ESPN for my sports news long ago, because at least you’re truthful and don’t operate under the guise of “Just the facts, ma’am”.

  51. wvugrad00 says: Jul 21, 2009 5:56 PM

    When did ESPN become the Microsoft of the sports reporting world?
    People just love to bitch about the big boys (Microsoft, ESPN), and spoon their little security blanket (Apple, blogs)

  52. tacious says: Jul 21, 2009 6:03 PM

    “Dude… get off of ESPN’s gonads. You (Florio) always act like you’re in competition with ESPN. Newsflash: They don’t really give a hoot about you. They are owned by Disney. They aren’t going anywhere. You’re a small fish in a small pond, just like Rotoworld. Keep pimping Sprint phones. LOL.”
    Relax there Justin G… what, are you ESPN’s “slam pig” or something? ESPN used to good… now they just suck; like your Mom!

  53. pacmanisathug says: Jul 21, 2009 6:12 PM

    they had plenty to say about steve mcnair being drunk while sitting on a couch. not driving, but on a couch, but no time for this?
    where is chris mortenson or john clayton on this one?

  54. Stan Mort says: Jul 21, 2009 6:17 PM

    TSN (ESPN Canada) is reporting the story

  55. The Grimus says: Jul 21, 2009 6:21 PM

    Who cares if ESPN reports this or not? They eventually will and if Florio’s “grand conspiracy” to stay in the good graces of Roethlisberger are true it only makes logical sense for ESPN as a business.
    ESPN got burned by the Duke Lacross fiasco (I don’t really remember the Kobe coverage but it probably wasn’t glamorous) so it stands to reason when some psychotic whore from a Nevada casino files a civil suit a year after an alledge rape with a major NFL star that would be impossible to prove in a criminal trial ESPN might want to tread lightly. Just in case she probably might be lying you never know.
    She stands for what a few months of the public airing of her dirt when it’s shown she’s a psychotic whore, but Roethlisberger has to have this attached to his name for the rest of his life which is spent mostly in the public eye.
    Bad situation all around Florio but get down off your cross and use the wood to build a bridge and get over it. ESPN like most other cable news outlets is for entertainment now a days and you have to take all of their “reporting” with a grain of salt.

  56. realityonetwo says: Jul 21, 2009 6:35 PM

    “At this point, we are not reporting the allegations against Ben Roethlisberger because no criminal complaint has been filed,” Nwulu said. “As far as we know, this is a civil lawsuit that Roethlisberger has yet to address publicly.”
    Translation: “Our sister company has a lot of jack tied up in taping a reality show this week with this dirtbag and that clown from the NBA. We will selectively ignore this story, and we believe our viewers should, too. And our advertisers.”

  57. Shamrock says: Jul 21, 2009 6:55 PM

    Schefter is twittering about the story.
    If he has balls, he’ll report it anyway.

  58. Bob Nelson says: Jul 21, 2009 7:15 PM

    ESPN is completly right.
    Florio the boob lawyer ought to know this.
    The Complaint and Summons have not been legally responded to yet.
    Let’s wait until the Responsive Pleading has been filed.
    One can hardly wait until the Discovery Conference that outlines which areas of discovery are in play for this suit.
    McNulty is going to have her whole phoney life investigated to shreds.

  59. Stlrzfan says: Jul 21, 2009 7:28 PM

    Just what the doctor ordered! This story is pageview manna from heaven! Milk it, baby, milk it!! Who cares if it’s true or not, pageviews rule!
    Accusations from psycho women= massive, massive, news cycle material. Just ask any Lacrosse player.
    This is where PFT finally completes the shark jump.

  60. VoxVeritas says: Jul 21, 2009 7:29 PM

    I’m no fan of ESPN but maybe they should question why you’re so biased for and against certain teams, Florio. Though to your credit, you don’t try to hide it. I suppose it’s natural for people to be biased, but I am somewhat disappointed that you’ve chosen to align yourself with the mouth-breathing coal miners and rust belt lowbrows that you’re surrounded by.

  61. FuriousGeorge says: Jul 21, 2009 7:34 PM

    ESPN is gun shy since their atrocious coverage of spygate and the “walk through tape” fiasco. they looked like absolute fools in both incidents and paid heavily in the respect and credibility dept. not to mention advertising revenue.

  62. Silver&Black666 says: Jul 21, 2009 7:59 PM

    Now its on CNN’s web site
    LMAO at ESPN

  63. EskinSux says: Jul 21, 2009 8:38 PM

    “I suppose it’s natural for people to be biased, but I am somewhat disappointed that you’ve chosen to align yourself with the mouth-breathing coal miners and rust belt lowbrows that you’re surrounded by.
    ______________________________
    Yeah, Florio, how the hell do you sleep at night knowing that one of thousands of commenters are disappointed….Shame on you….

  64. atlantafalCANS says: Jul 21, 2009 9:14 PM

    We all appreciate your ability to break news before plenty of other medias but you will NEVER compete with ESPN on anything else. EVER.

  65. blackmajik61 says: Jul 22, 2009 11:58 AM

    Hey all you numb nuts that keep talking crap about how Florio will never compete with ESPN, what do you have between your ears? Its not about competing with ESPN, its about a blatant double standard that ESPN demonstrates over and over. Some think this is about a superstar getting superstar treatment but it isn’t even about that. This is about black and white and normally don’t even go there but there have just been too many examples in sports in particular to ignore.
    Don’t even tell me if this was TO or Chad Johnson ESPN wouldn’t on top of this every second of every day after every commercial break on every ESPN channel. If it was Donovan McNabb it would be the same thing b/c they’ve already OD’d on reporting on them in the past. They were all over the Vinkings boat party fiasco a few years ago b4 anybody was charged. If this was any black NFL player say Marvin Harrison who until last yr had a squeaky clean image or absolutely any black player ESPN would be reporting about it. I have countless other examples of a double standard when it comes to their coverage of “off the field issues” but as Florio already pointed out ESPN’s pathetic lame excuse for not covering this is straight BS. I know most of you could care less but its this type of blatant double standard that insults one’s intelligence, as if it would go unnoticed.

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