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July 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

ESPN was under fire Thursday after it pulled an article from its website by its Arash Markazi titled “A Kid in King James’ Court,” which described in less-than-flattering terms, a night out in Las Vegas by basketball superstar LeBron James. Rob King, head of digital media for ESPN, later issued a statement saying that the sports network had removed the article because “Arash did not properly identify himself as a reporter or clearly state his intentions to write a story.” The latest controversy follows the move by ESPN to provide James with on-air time to produce — and sell — a program, “The Decision,” in which he announced his decision to quit the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat. The removal of the Markazi article was criticized on ESPN itself by Miami Herald sports writer Dan Le Batard on Pardon the Interruption. “There’s the perception that ESPN is in bed with [James], and now you bring more attention to the story when you pull it,” he said, “Instead of if you had just left it alone, because it was a pretty harmless piece.” Referring to the ESPN statement, Tony Kornheiser chimed in: “I don’t know what it means to ‘properly identify’ yourself.’ … I don’t know who has to know you’re a writer and who doesn’t when a guy is a public figure in, what appears to be, a public place.”