Well, this is just developing. ESPN has published statements from ESPN.com Editor-in-Chief Rob King and the writer of the spiked LeBron James story, Arash Markazi. It’s been tweeted by both CNBC’s Darren Rovell and Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.
According to ESPN, Markazi did not properly identify himself to the LeBron James camp as a reporter and that’s where the problems started. As a result, ESPN says it will never publish the story in any form on its digital platforms, but you can find it in a multitude of places including Google Docs.
Here are the statements:
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.”
To some, it will appear that Markazi is taking one for the team. We’ll probably never know the real story behind this spiking.