ESPN has sent an update on Wednesday's brouhaha over a story in which a reporter observed LeBron James' partying habits in Las Vegas, wrote a story about it, then had said story captured for eternity on the Internet when ESPN said it never should have gotten out there.
The Worldwide Leader now says the story never will run, because the reporter did not identify himself as such that evening. (Me? I know enough to identify myself when I hang out with LeBron and his friends, but the understanding is that I must never print what I see. What happens in LeBron's entourage stays in LeBron's entourage.)
Here are statements from ESPN.com boss Rob King and from the reporter in question:
Rob King, Vice President & Editor-in-Chief, ESPN Digital Media:
“ESPN.com will not be posting the story in any form. We looked into the situation thoroughly and found that Arash did not properly identify himself as a reporter or clearly state his intentions to write a story. As a result, we are not comfortable with the content, even in an edited version, because of the manner in which the story was reported. We’ve been discussing the situation with Arash and he completely understands. To be clear, the decisions to pull the prematurely published story and then not to run it were made completely by ESPN editorial staff without influence from any outside party.”
Arash Markazi, Writer & Columnist, ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“I have been in conversations with ESPN.com’s editors and, upon their complete review, understand their decision not to run the 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.”