HARTFORD, Conn. - The New York Post declined to comment yesterday on ESPN's decision to ban the newspaper's reporters from appearing on its outlets, but it fired back with an item on its gossip page calling ESPN a "Mickey Mouse sports network."
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The item accused the network itself of being the first to identify ESPN reporter Erin Andrews as the woman in an illicitly recorded video that became an Internet sensation. There was no mention of the Post's decision to publish images from the video Tuesday, which infuriated ESPN.
ESPN sent a letter last week to a Web site that had posted the video demanding it be taken down. But it was not until Andrews' attorney issued a statement Friday night that she specifically was identified.
The Post item quoted an ESPN spokesman saying, "Any action we have or will undertake in this matter is in concert with Erin and her team."
Andrews' attorney, Marshall Grossman, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he confirmed her identity "to put an end to rumor and speculation and to put the perpetrator and those who are complicit on notice that they act at their peril."
ESPN banned Post reporters in retaliation for the newspaper's decision to print images from the video.
ESPN executive editor John Walsh said on Dan Patrick's syndicated radio show yesterday that the network's executives regarded the Post's use of the images as "embarrassing and reprehensible."
He added, "We felt if we were the parents of the victim of this crime and we saw the words New York Post on our air, we would feel we weren't doing justice to our colleague." Walsh later told WFAN's Mike Francesa that Post staffers affected by the decision will be paid for the work they were scheduled to do.
He said the investigation has not yet identified the person who shot the video. Authorities are looking into possibilities both inside and outside ESPN.