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2014 Free Agency, Smack / Jul 11, 2014 / 12:00 pm

ESPN Removes Anonymous GM Quote About LeBron & Cavs After Complaints

LeBron James, Tristan Thompson

LeBron James, Tristan Thompson (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

We relayed Chris Broussard’s story for ESPN about LeBron James‘ still-irate attitude towards Cavs owner Dan Gilbert following Gilbert’s incendiary letter calling James a “coward” in 2010, earlier today. Now Chris Sheridan — the same reporter who broke the LeBron-to-Cleveland story that just came to fruition, complained Broussard had broken journalistic ethics when ESPN cited an unnamed GM for an opinion quote. ESPN has since removed the quote.

Broussard’s initial version of the story included this quote:

“He condemned Sterling, but he’s going back to the [expletive] who nearly called him an uppity [expletive],” one league executive said. “Hypocrite.”

Here’s a screenshot before it was scrubbed clean, by way of SB Nation’s Mike Prada:

(Click for larger version)

ESPN Screenshot

ESPN Screenshot (photo. SB Nation)

The quote was removed before we saw the version assessed earlier today. The burying of the quote may have been precipitated by Chris Sheridan, of SheridanHoops.com, who complained about the ethics of its inclusion on Twitter:

Sheridan even directly called out Broussard for disregarding journalistic mores:

The story we read ends right before the quote. By including the quote in the original piece, Broussard was the one who made the connection between LeBron’s Sterling comments — James was one of the first players to publicly deride Sterling and call for his removal — and Dan Gilbert’s very public effusions of anger after James’ original Decision in 2010. So why then did Broussard tweet there was no connection later on today?

The condemnations from Sheridan combined with Broussard’s seemingly incongruent actions doesn’t make this a big story in-and-of-itself, but it does speak to a larger media belief that James should avoid going back to Gilbert’s Cavs team after getting out and front of the Sterling mess.

(Thanks to Mike Prada at SB Nation for bringing this to our attention)

What do you think?

Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.

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