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Where's the Truth in Erin Andrews Saga?

Aug 25, 2009 – 11:00 PM
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David Whitley

David Whitley %BloggerTitle%

I don't believe George W. Bush planned 9/11 or the U.S. government is hiding little green men in Area 51. But at the risk of being fitted for a tin foil hat, I have to ask:

Whatever happened to Erin Andrews?

A month has passed since her peephole video got more coverage than World War II. Her people were threatening lawsuits and ESPN vowed to bring the culprit to justice.

Since then there's barely been a peep.

As for a hole, there are enough to wonder whether the investigation is being conducted with the zeal everyone expected.

Maybe ESPN sleuths and some unnamed police force are trying to get to the bottom of this. If so, I want them chasing me the next time I drill a hole in a hotel wall and videotape my way into Internet history.

The only thing we've seen of Andrews since late July was a photo spread in GQ. It was shot pre-peephole and was harmless enough.

Well, there was one picture of her standing on top of a Gatorade cooler wearing a tight black skirt. She was surrounded by football players dying to quench their thirsts. You can be sure the photo was not approved by the Association for Women in Sports Media.

As for hearing anything from Andrews, all we've gotten is the tape of an emergency 911 call. Paparazzi were lurking outside her Atlanta-area home, and she was not happy.

"I did nothing wrong and I'm being treated like (bleeping) Britney Spears and it sucks," Andrews told the operator.

Note to Erin: If you want to stop being treated like Britney Spears, perhaps you should stop posing on top of Gatorade coolers surrounded by tongue-wagging young men.

That's not to say Andrews deserved the video indignity some pervert foisted on her. In the abstract, we're all guilty to some degree. Andrews played the role of Sideline Babe, ESPN promoted it and millions of viewers lapped it up.

It was all good fun until the peep show cretin set up a camera and yelled "Action!" Now everybody wants to catch the criminal, or at least know we're closing in. What we've gotten is silence.

That is not necessarily incriminating. You can see why prosecutors wouldn't want this to turn into a Nancy Grace Circus. But the tight lips go beyond the norm, and the lack of transparency fuels any conspiracy theory. So again, allow me to put on my tin foil hat.

Conspiracy Theory One -- Andrews staged the video

Evidence: She's hot right now, but at 31 it won't be too many years before the cheesecake appeal fades. Go for the Paris Hilton Effect and intentionally leak a nude video.

Verdict: No way. Until she does a reality show with Nicole Ritchie, Andrews deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Conspiracy Theory Two -- ESPN staged it

Evidence: It's TV.

For all its serious journalistic pretense, ESPN doesn't mind flashing a little T&A. Witness last week's NASCAR ceremony at the White House. ESPN got a sit-down interview on the lawn with Barack Obama. Nicole Manske set a record for shortest skirt worn by a non-Clinton intern. Let's just say Helen Thomas hasn't worn pumps like that since the Hoover Administration.

Verdict: Again, no way. Nobody at ESPN would be foolish enough to actually propose a peep-show caper in lieu of Andrews doing a commercial with Syracuse's mascot.

Sub-Conspiracy Theory Two – Some rogue associated with ESPN was behind it

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Internet Scandals in Sports
While undressed in her hotel room, popular ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was videotaped through a peephole, and the resulting footage was posted on the Internet. Her lawyer vows that civil and criminal charges will be filed against the perpetrator(s).
Jamie Squire, Getty Images
Jamie Squire, Getty Images

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You could believe someone randomly set up a camera in separate hotels hoping to secretly videotape a female traipsing around in the nude. And what perverted luck! Out of millions of potential victims, Erin Andrews happened to walk in the room. Twice.

TMZ reported that the video was actually six separate videos shot into two hotel rooms. Somebody had to have prior knowledge where Andrews was staying. That would most likely be somebody at ESPN or the hotel chain.

We're not trying to track the Zodiac Killer here. There are enough clues to make you think this case should have been solved three weeks ago. That's assuming ESPN is more concerned about getting it cracked than avoiding potential embarrassment/lawsuits.

The network did not treat the crime as a story from the start, despite the fact it was in most newspapers, a cable TV staple, the most searched topic on World Wide Web and set off a national discussion on the invasion of privacy.

It seems like a natural story for Outside the Lines or E:60, but ESPN employees aren't even supposed to mention the incident around the water cooler. Even the question of whether there is an internal investigation is shuffled to Andrews' attorney, who has nothing to do with ESPN investigating ESPN.

"Investigations take time. Their object is to gather information in a professional manner which will hopefully lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this criminal act and help ensure that others are not similarly victimized," attorney Marshall B. Grossman said in an email. "To ensure the maximum chance accomplishing those goals, we are not commenting publicly on the ongoing investigations."

Fair enough, though I wish he'd clarify which law enforcement agencies are investigating. ESPN is based in Connecticut and Andrews lives in Georgia. As of last week, authorities in those states were not part of any investigation. Neither was the FBI.

A spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said a complaint would usually be filed where the crime occurred. I'll admit I'm too lazy to call every police department in every city Andrews has been to over the past year to see if she's filed a complaint.

But let's assume she figured out where the videos were shot and local police are working the case. Wouldn't they by now have contacted Dailymotion, the Web site where the video was originally posted?

A source with the company confirmed reports that it has not been approached by anyone investigating the Andrews video. The site's records may not lead to the culprit, but computer security experts say it's a good place to start.

Does all this add up to a cover-up?

"Ms. Andrews is a crime victim. Most people understand that," Grossman said. "Those few cynics who have speculated otherwise have their own issues which are beyond my ability to deal with. They should be ashamed of themselves."

Excuse me while I discreetly try to slip off my tin foil hat.

We can agree she's a crime victim. She deserves justice, which means an aggressive and thorough investigation.

Maybe that's happening. I just can't help speculating that the only bottom ESPN wants us to see belongs to Erin Andrews.
Filed under: Sports
Tagged: Erin Andrews