KDKA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, may have killed a potentially damaging video of the Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for fear of tarnishing its marketing relationship with the team, Sports Illustrated magazine reports.
The incident happened after Roethlisberger was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2006, SI says, when he was riding without a helmet and needed seven hours of surgery to repair his injuries. Afterward, Roethlisberger said, "If I ever ride again, it certainly will be with a helmet."
Cut to a few months later. According to the article, a reporter and cameraman were driving on a Pittsburgh highway when they saw Roethlisberger riding a motorcycle without a helmet. "They began shooting footage, which showed Roethlisberger giving them the finger as he sped away, but the video never aired. The station’s news director at the time, John Verrilli, and its current assistant news director, Anne Linaberger, deny that any such tape existed, but several people who saw the video gave SI similar accounts of the tape; sources believe the story was killed out of fear that it would damage KDKA’s relationship with the Steelers," according to the article.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports acting news director Anne Lineaberger said she was not aware of such a tape and said she was misquoted denying its existence. (The article points out that KDKA’s partnership with the Steelers allows it to feature segments with the team’s players during KDKA newscasts.) "I wasn’t aware of it and I never saw it," she said.