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Archive for August 1, 2009

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RACE and ESPN-Surprising SILENCE on Roethlisberger Rape Charge

Why ESPN, WHY haven’t you covered the rape charge against Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with the same gusto that you pursued the Kobe Bryant case?

Several media outlets picked up the story, including one newspaper in the defending Super Bowl champs backyard. But ESPN stayed silent.

According to the Boston Phoenix, earlier this month a woman accused Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting her. The Nevada resident is filing a civil lawsuit. Seems the woman never went to authorities and waited a full year to make her case public.

The hotel employee claims that in July, last year, Roethlisberger checked into the hotel for a celebrity golf tournament. The night after she met Roethlisberger, the woman says he asked her up to his room to fix his TV. According to the complaint, he was dressed in T-shirt and shorts when she came up to the room…and allegedly forced himself on her.

According to the Phoenix, ESPN claimed it wasn’t covering the rape charge because no criminal case had been filed and Roethlisberger hadn’t commented. Critics promptly noted the network has covered civil cases before and Roethlisberger’s attorney had, in fact, already offered a public response.

In a subsequent interview with a sports columnist, ESPN admitted that the non-coverage of Roethlisberger was really a judgment call.

So what is different about this case…and the Kobe Bryant case, for ESPN?

According to the Phoenix, maybe it’s because:

1. Kobe is black?

2. Kobe wasn’t starring in a new reality show on ESPN’s corporate sibling ABC? The show, Shaq Vs, has various athletes, including Roethlisberger, battling NBA star Shaquille O’Neal.

3. The network was not afraid of alienating the Lakers fan base?

According to the Phoenix, ESPN has covered solely civil suits before, with recent cases involving Shannon Brown and Adam Jones (who are both black).

Read details of arrest in Boston Phoenix site articles: (1) Sports Blotter – Bagged Ben and (2) Personal Fouls (by Adam Reilly).

I unearthed the following article from ESPN (Updated: August 6, 2003, 3:40 PM ET) on the Kobe Bryant Case.

Since Kobe Bryant was charged with felony sexual assault on July 18, information has slowly trickled out about the case.

The flow of rumors, innuendo and disinformation, however, has been simply overwhelming over the last few weeks. To get some reliable answers to many of the frequently asked questions about the Kobe case, went to legal analyst Roger Cossack, who has covered the trials of O.J. Simpson and Marv Albert as well as President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings.

Here’s Cossack’s overview of what to expect at Wednesday’s pre-trial hearing and beyond.

• So, just as you asked the EXPERTS THEM, I’m going to cut and paste below the very same questions YOU asked Cossack, and CALL ON YOU, ESPN, to find an expert and ask him/her THE SAME QUESTIONS. Just SUBSTITUTE THE NAME ROETHLISBERGER for BRYANT, AND change states/towns, etc…

Here are the questions YOU, ESPN asked, then, that I’d like YOU to ask NOW: (They’re eeriely relevant, too!)

1. What can we expect at Wednesday’s pre-trial hearing? Will Kobe Bryant enter a plea, and will a court date be set? ?

2. Does being a star make it likely Bryant will be able to delay a trial until next summer, as Chris Webber seemed to be able to do?

3. Right now, what are the odds of this case actually going to trial?

4. So you don’t foresee Bryant possibly pleading to a lesser charge?

5. Under Colorado law, what does it mean to be a registered sex offender?

6. What about the reports of the victim’s “state of mind” months before the alleged incident? Will those ever be heard in court?

7. How important are witnesses who claim they saw the victim immediately after the attack?

8. If the case goes to trial, is it a sure thing that Kobe will testify?

9. Is this a classic case of “he-said, she-said”? How difficult are those cases to prove?

10. Kobe Bryant hasn’t been shy about appearing in public lately. Will this have any impact on the case? If you were his attorney would you be advising to keep a low profile?

11. Will it be possible to find an impartial jury? Do you think the trial will be moved out of Eagle County?

12. How much should be made of the DA’s relative lack of experience in high-profile trials vs. the high-profile pasts of the defense attorneys?

13. How does the fact that the crime scene is a hotel room affect the collection and value of the evidence?

14. Do you believe race will become an issue in this case

Questions: (If page is missing, have questions on an ESPN page on my blog)

Waiting, ESPN.

Lots of bloggers are wondering WHY ESPN isn’t reporting the story, World leader in Sports!!!

And what else…?

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