ESPN: We Killed LeBron Story Because Writer ‘Did Not Properly Identify Himself’

Network now says it pulled piece because author “did not clearly state intentions”

Last Updated: July 30, 2010 @ 7:04 AM

Quick update to the post ("ESPN Pulls Story About LeBron James Partying in Vegas") about ESPN and its decision to kill a story published on its website which chronicled LeBron James and his entourage in Las Vegas.

On Wednesday, ESPN said a “draft was inadvertently put on the server before going through the usual editorial process” and that the story “should have never been published” in the first place.

After “looking into the matter” for a couple days, Rob King, the network’s digital media VP and editor-in-chief, released this statement:
 
"ESPN.com will not be posting the story in any form. We looked into the situation thoroughly and found that Arash [Markazi] 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."

That explanation sounds a little better than inadvertent drafts on servers. The problem is ESPN permanently lost what little credibility it had with “The Decision.” All coverage of LeBron James by the “Worldwide Leader” is forever tainted.

Markazi, for his part, is standing by his account of James’ boozy and stripper-filled Vegas trip. Here’s his statement:

"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."