Last week, at about this same time, we sent an e-mail to ESPN’s news desk alerting the Worldwide Leader of our report regarding a civil suit filed against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger by a woman who claimed that he sexually assaulted her.
And, as we all know, ESPN opted to ignore that report, initially floating the patently ridiculous notion that the network doesn’t report on civil cases that haven’t triggered criminal prosecutions.
So it’s fitting, we suppose, that ESPN is reporting that receiver Marvin Harrison is the subject of a second civil lawsuit regarding an April 2008 shooting . . . even though he never has been charged with any crime.
Harrison, according to Shaun Assael of ESPN The Magazine, has been sued by Robert Nixon, who claims he was shot by Harrison, as Harrison tried to shoot Dwight Dixon.
Assael also points out an intriguing development that ESPN ignored last week — that Dixon was shot seven times on Tuesday, and that he told police before slipping into a coma that he believes Harrison hired the gunman.
Prosecutors have not yet charged Harrison, due in part to concerns regarding Nixon’s credibility. But Assael reports that Nixon was placed in protective custody for two weeks at one point, which tends to lend some credence to Dixon’s allegation that Harrison arranged for last week’s shooting.
Bottom line? While this story has slipped off the NFL’s radar screen given that Harrison currently isn’t under contract with any NFL team, it has the potential to eventually explode.
And, as a practical matter, the simmering possibility of a criminal prosecution might cause interested teams to shy away from him as training camps open.