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Is ESPN trying to preserve its relationship with Roethlisberger?


As the current 600-pound elephant in the media room continues to be ESPN’s ongoing decision not to mention the civil claim of sexual harassment against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, others are beginning to notice.

The current lead item on Deadspin focuses in part on ESPN’s decision not to mention the case, but it’s still not clear why. We’ve been trying to get an explanation directly from Bristol, but to no avail.

The obvious theory is that ESPN isn’t paying attention to it because one of the many ESPN NFL reporters didn’t report it.

But there might be something deeper going on.

As our pal Todd Wright of Sporting News Radio pointed out, ESPN possibly doesn’t want to risk pissing Ben off, because ESPN needs to maintain its access to him.

For example, he did an interview last week with SportsCenter from Lake Tahoe, and he previously appeared for “Five Good Minutes” on PTI from the U.S. Open.

And our own Tom Curran points out that Roethlisberger will appear in an August episode of Shaquille O’Neal’s new reality show, which will be televised by ESPN’s sister network, ABC.

So why alienate the starting quarterback from the defending Super Bowl champs, on one of the highest-profile teams in the NFL?

The same approach was suspected by some (i.e., us) last year, when FOX’s Jay Glazer reported that Brett Favre funneled information regarding the Packers’ offense to the Lions, and ESPN thereafter ignored it.

Why? Because we think they eventually want to hire Favre. In the interim, they want to have unlimited access to Favre, his wife, and his agent, Bus Cook.

So Todd Wright might have the answer. Either way, there’s something more to this one than meets the eye. Otherwise, our eyes would be seeing something about Roethlisberger’s civil lawsuit on ESPN or