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ESPN admits pulling James story

By Ken Schott
Thursday, July 29, 2010

ESPN acknowledged today that it pulled an article from ESPN.com that chronicled Lebron James’ activities during a weekend in Las Vegas.

The article, by ESPNLosAngeles.com reporter Arash Markazi, was available for about 9 1/2 hours on its server Wednesday before being pulled. Markazi the new Miami Heat star drinking at nightclubs, and receiving a cake from go-go dancers in a VIP section.

Rob King, editor in chief of ESPN Digital Media, told The Associated Press that the story was posted before it had been cleared by senior editors, and that Markazi didn’t identify himself as a reporter in gathering the information used to report the story.

"I made the call," King said. "I just plainly felt it was wrong to gather information in this way, so we would not publish the information in any fashion."

The network issued a statement from Markazi saying he understood the decision not to run his story.

"It is important to note that I stand by the accuracy of the story in its entirety, but should have been clearer in representing my intent to write about the events I observed," Markazi said. "The hope is that we learned something from this, that we won't repeat the error, and that we can restore any lost confidence in our ability to objectively report and present the news."

Sounds like a forced apology to me. If the story was accurate, why didn't ESPN let the story run? Is it afraid of offending James? ESPN gave an hour of air time to James so he could embarrass the city of Cleveland by announcing he was leaving the Cavaliers to join the Heat.

Everything ESPN does with James will be scrutinized for years to come.

 
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