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IRVIN, WILLIAMS CLEARED; MEDIA'S ETHICS EXAMINED
Published January 13, 1997
Police over the weekend cleared Cowboys Erik Williams and Michael Irvin of a sexual assault charge after determining that the accusation was false. Williams is considering legal action "against the police department and others," and Irvin and his lawyer "have not discussed their next step" (Kelly Carter, USA TODAY, 1/13). MEDIA ETHICS EXAMINED: In the wake of Irvin's and Williams' clearance, the ethics of sports media was examined by ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on "SportsWeekly." Dallas Morning News Exec VP & Editor Ralph Langer: "The story was forced by what the police department did. They had a choice to not do that and they did it, and once they went public and read these people's names into the record, then it couldn't not be reported" Bob Lichter, head of Center for Media & Public Affairs: "It was just too juicy. Violence against women, celebrity athletes out of control, the Dallas Cowboys riding for a fall" ("SportsWeekly," ESPN, 1/12). REAX: Header in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS: "Image Still Tarnished, Pundits Say. Some Call Backlash Unavoidable Despite Vindication Of Players" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/12). Header in the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM: "Cowboys Need To Tackle PR Crisis" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/12). Mike Lupica: "Sometimes we all go too far, and they were innocent this time, and you know what? It is about time" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 1/12). NBC's Cris Collinsworth said Irvin and Williams "deserve the same kind of treatment on national television once this story went away that it got when this whole thing started to break" (NBC, 1/12).