ESPN removes story about LeBron’s party in Vegas

Basketball Player LeBron James hosts a night at Lavo on July 23, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV (Photo by DAP1 / Meet The Famous) Photo via Newscom

Arash Markazi attended a party ‘hosted’ by LeBron in Las Vegas and lived to tell the tale. Well, sort of. Shortly after the story was posted, the Worldwide Leader took it down.

Written by Arash Markazi of ESPN’s Los Angeles affiliate, the story recounted the author’s night out on the town with James and his entourage at the Tao nightclub at the Venetian hotel. While the majority of the piece, which is still online, contained several harmless vignettes such as finding James engaged in a dance off with Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers, a few parts cast the King in less than the best light.

According to Markazi, copious amounts of champagne and vodka flowed over the course of the evening, and scantily clad women – or in at least one case, nude women – cavorted around the player and his friends who did shots of tequila while waiters floating on wires serviced the table.

ESPN has issued a statement about the story:

“The story should have never been published,” wrote Josh Krulewitz of ESPN in a statement to SportsBusiness Daily. “The draft was inadvertently put on the server before going through the usual editorial process. We are in the midst of looking into the matter.”

You can read the entire story here. (Just click on the image and a bigger version should appear.)

I would describe it as detailed, honest and unflattering.

Update: SPORTSbyBROOKS has ESPN’s statement as well as a statement from Markazi.

“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.”

Markazi:

“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.”

Well, the story is out there, and it might get more attention now that it would have had ESPN kept it published, but such is the current state of media.

Markazi was operating in a bit of a grey area. He didn’t identify himself as a reporter who was going to write a story about the night, so he saw a certain side of LeBron that he otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Should journalists be required to identify themselves? If he had, he likely would have been denied access to the full evening. Of course, Markazi likely got access to the party in the first place because he is a reasonably well-known writer.

The bottom line is that if LeBron doesn’t want to look like an a-hole, then he probably shouldn’t act like an a-hole when in public.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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