More than two days after PFT broke the story that Ben Roethlisberger was the subject of a civil suit in Nevada, the Worldwide Leader has finally acknowledged the story exists.
Around 8PM ET Wednesday, ESPN decided to lift their “do not report” policy regarding Roethlisberger’s case. Linda Cohn mentioned the story on ESPNews and their website posted the latest AP story. (Although the story isn’t too fresh, considering Mr. Florio disassembled it five hours ago.)
The AP story was placed roughly halfway down the headline stack on ESPN’s homepage.
It will be interesting to see if the network details why they decided to break the embargo at this stage. (They have extensively talked about their decision to stay away from the story.)
Whatever the reason, it was past time for ESPN to admit they made a mistake. In many ways, the cover up became worse than the crime of not addressing the story quickly.
As time wore on, it grew increasingly ridiculous not to address the issue despite immediate statements from Roethlisberger’s attorney and the Steelers, not to mention extensive coverage by the Associated Press and every other major network and website in the country.
ESPN’s continued refusal to report the story wound up attracting nearly as much attention as the story itself, at least on the internets. They became part of the story.
It remains to be seen if they use their vast resources to cover Roethlisberger’s case aggressively from now on.
If not, we recommend they hit refresh often on PFT.