ESPN Responds to Deadspin's 'Despicable' 'Rumor Mongering'
Wednesday, after the fervor surrounding the Steve Phillips-Brooke Hundley incident died down, and after everybody weighed in on the matter, and after ESPN finally commented on the situation, Deadspin ended the day with a final, vitriolic post about the sexual conduct of ESPN employees.
It got ugly, frankly, but whether A.J. Daulerio's posts were enough for ESPN to fire up the World-Wide Legal Team remained to be seen (and, if you haven't read Clay Travis' superb post on the legality of internet defamation yet, you absolutely should). But considering the statement that FanHouse received from Senior VP of Communications Chris LaPlaca Thursday afternoon, it seems pretty clear that ESPN is not taking the allegations lightly.
"Deadspin's self-admitted rumor mongering is despicable behavior by any standard and shows callous disregard for its impact on people's lives. It is not worthy of response and those responsible should be called to account. ESPN is home to thousands of hard working, creative and caring people who are the key to our success. Our company is not perfect but we will continue to do all we can to provide each of our employees with a positive working environment."
While ESPN clearly is not happy about Daulerio's editorial decisions, nowhere do they issue a denial in the statement.
ESPN clearly isn't happy about what went down Wednesday (Many sports blogs echoed similar sentiments after the fact). But like most large corporations, they have cash to burn when it comes to utilizing their full legal resources.
As to the "Should they or shouldn't they sue?" question, Clay already pointed out that it's a really gray area -- but I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't some legal wrangling between Gawker and Disney before this is over.
Update: When reached for comment, Daulerio had this to say: "I refuse to respond to ESPN's non-response response. But I'll respond to ESPN's non-response response by acknowledging my despicable behavior when I wrote about about some ESPN employees' despicable behavior."