Richard Roeper Blog

Pervy Post Exploits Sideline Siren. And now ESPN overreacts.

ESPN\’s retribution

ESPN says it’s banning New York Post reporters from appearing on its programming, in retribution for the Post running screen caps of the illegally shot videotape of Erin Andrews naked in a hotel room(s).

Wait a minute. You’re going to punish the beat reporters and columnists from the sports section because of a scummy move by the news editors of the papers? It’d be one thing if one of the Post’s sports guys or gals made the decision to run the photos in the paper or on a blog. Sure, go ahead and ban him. But it’s petty and vindictive for ESPN to issue this ban.

Let’s say ESPN ran a feature mocking a particular team or player, and the team was livid about it. How would Team ESPN feel if  that team banned EVERYONE from ESPN from the locker room and team functions? It wouldn’t be fair and it wouldn’t be right.


Talk about having your (cheese)cake and eating it too.

The New York Post ran a story about the “peephole pervert” who took video of ESPN’s Erin Andrews naked without her knowledge.

Next to the online version of the story: screen caps of the video.
“ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews was the innocent victim of a perv-camera-wielding sicko,” reads the caption under a screen cap of Ms. Andrews, with a black bar across her naked chest.

There’s been a lot of mixed-messaging in the media since the reports first surfaced late last week about the grainy video footage of Andrews. You’d read a sports blogger condeming the illegal exploitation of the ESPN sideline reporter–and then he’d link to the video. At least one European TV station reported on the story while running the video, unexpurgated.

I’m sure I’ll hear from folks saying that by even mentioning the New York Post story, I was alerting more people to a chance to leer at Andrews.

There have been times when I’ve commented on a controversial or objectional video or a photo—and the Sun-Times has run the item in question on the site, or I’ve posted a link on my own site. I’ll hear from readers saying, “You’re saying this is wrong but you’re sharing it with everyone!” You always try to navigate the line between, “Here’s what I’m talking about,” and further exploiting the situation.

In the Erin Andrews case, it’s an easy choice. You don’t run screen caps or post links to the video. (And a warning to those who are already thinking about Googling “Erin Andrews naked”–for the last few days, anyone doing so has opened themselves up to a possible computer virus. Have fun explaining that one to the boss or the wife.) It’s unethical–and every time Andrews’ attorneys are made aware of another site running the video, they’ve been vigilant in demanding its removal.

I’ve also seen a lot of talk on the Internet about how Andrews has exploited her good looks for years on the sidelines of America’s sporting events–wearing tight sweaters and sexy dresses. Last year there was a lot of fuss and holler when sports blogger Mide Nadel wrote about Andrews “saunter[ing] around the [Cubs] clubhouse [in Milwaukee], flitting from one Cubs player to another. Her skimpy outfit–designed to accentuate her, um, positives–had players leering at her. Some made lewd comments under her breath. Others giggled like 12-year-olds.”

I’ve even seen suggestions that the entire story is a publicity stunt, concocted by Andrews. That’s beyond ludicrous.

Of course Andrews and ESPN and the entire sports world are aware she’s an attractive woman. I’m sure none of her employers has ever advised her to put on 40 pounds and go for a mousier look.

So what. That doesn’t give anyone the right to violate the woman’s privacy with an illegal videotape.

8 Responses to “Pervy Post Exploits Sideline Siren. And now ESPN overreacts.”

  1. Aaron H. Says:

    If ESPN wants to be mad at someone, they should be mad at Christine Brennan. She basically said that Erin had it coming.

  2. Adam Says:

    Just curious how you’d want the Trib to handle a similar scenario if someone planted a camera in your hotel room, caught you undressing or in the bathroom or taking a shower, and then posted the vids online? The focus wouldn’t be so much on why people would want to see it (no offense) but on how embarrassing it would be to you. It’s not just a violation, it’s a criminal violation.

    So if the New York Post published pictures from the video–not just made people aware of it or told them where to find it, but actually printed the pictures themselves–wouldn’t that go beyond questionable? Wouldn’t that in and of itself be a violation not only of your privacy but of you, yourself? And wouldn’t you want your employer to overreact to the New York Post and anyone employed by or associated with that paper?

    It just seems to me that Erin Andrews’s attractiveness, popularity, style, and personal conduct are all irrelevant to the discussion, because the video and the subsequent, links, mentions, and photographs were not products of who she is or what she did. She was in her hotel room. She hasn’t been accused of breaking the law in her hotel room or doing anything wrong or embarrassing in her hotel room. She was simply made vulnerable in an environment where she had every expectation of being safe.

    Printing photos of that violation compounds the crime, and I don’t think ESPN is guilty of overreacting to that. Anyone still willing to have their name tied to that paper, barring a serious apology, deserves whatever flack they receive.

  3. Brian K Says:

    What is truly unfair is that the Post’s sports reporters (through no fault of their own) now offically work for a cheap tabloid. ESPN has every right to ensure that the Post never again benefits from their services after publishing illegally obtained photos of one of their employees.

    And any argument that Ms. Andrews dressing habits somehow mean she deserved this treatment are too absurd to waste time addressing.

  4. Jack Says:

    Who cares? I wouldn’t be to quick to dismiss this as a publicity stunt. Before this story came out I didn’t know who Erin Andrews was and I am guessing I am not alone. Now many more people know her as the eye candy who does those ridiculously lame after-game interviews with some over-paid sports stars. I mute those as soon I possibly can and use that time for a break.

  5. Michael Says:

    Will Mike Lupica show up on the Sports Reporters on Sunday? I guess we will soon find out. If he is on the show, it will say a lot about how much ESPN cares a out their own policy in this matter.

  6. twinlorna Says:

    The New York Post is not alone.The CBS Early Show showed quite a few seconds of this video,her body was blocked out but her face clearly visible.They could have reported the story without showing the clip.
    The experts say it appears to be an “inside job”.Makes you wonder….

  7. pbjmahwah Says:

    Re: Michael’s comment below about Mike Lupica on the Sports Reporters. Lupica is a NY Daily News employee – not a NY Post employee.

  8. 9753 Says:

    Great read! thx

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