Plain Dealer, Cleveland.com Backtrack on LeBron James/Sharon Reed Lovechild Rumor

by Cleveland Frowns on July 5, 2012

On Tuesday the Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com published a short and short-lived piece by Michael Heaton on rumors that LeBron James fathered a baby with former 19 Action News (WOIO) anchor Sharon Reed.

The column carried the headline, “Is LeBron James Sharon Reed’s baby daddy?,” and relied entirely on reports from “internet websites” to support the editorial decision that this question is one that the PD and Cleveland.com should be putting in headlines. Heaton cites three websites, Tattle Tailzz, Sandra Rose, and Madame Noire, but none of the three “reports,” nor anything that’s been published anywhere on the LeBron/Reed rumor to date, comes from a source that’s any different from the anonymous one used here by Sandra Rose.

According to Cleveland.com’s time-stamp, its piece was posted at 5:15 PM on Tuesday, and was updated with who-knows-what at 6:25. About a half-hour later, it was pulled from the site, though a dead link to the post still came up as the top result on a Google search for “LeBron Sharon Reed” this morning.

As noted, the now-dead post is mainly interesting for what it didn’t contain — namely, a single bit of information that makes the reports at the cited gossip sites any more likely to be true. But here’s a screengrab for posterity (click images to enlarge).

See, internet websites are abuzz, and now they’re even more abuzz thanks to this column that did nothing but tell you that the internet websites were abuzz in the first place.

As for why the PD/Cleveland.com pulled the piece, a cease-and-desist letter might have done the trick given that “the republication of someone else’s defamatory statement can itself be defamatory” under certain circumstances. A local industry source told me that Cleveland R&B radio station 93.1 FM (WZAK) received such a letter in connection with a similar piece that ran at its website that’s also been pulled, and local hip-hop station Z 107.9 published then pulled a post on the subject from its website as well.

Or maybe someone at the PD came independently to the idea that publishing a piece based entirely on an anonymously-sourced report by Sandra Rose, etc., wasn’t the best idea.

Rose (pictured directly above) advertises her location on her Twitter page as “behind you.” She’s best known for reporting that Jermaine Dupri threatened to kill her, and also for trolling the living daylights out of Rihanna and Beyonce (“Notice her hips are nonexistent? In fact she’s not even shapely. just thick in the thighs with no definition between her hips and her waist. … hip pads?”).

In the report at issue, Rose cites “sources close to Reed,” who tell her “it was an open secret at work that [Reed] has been seeing LeBron for years,” and that, “[w]hen Reed turned up pregnant last year there was no doubt in anyone’s minds who the baby’s father was.” Rose also notes that, “when things started getting out of hand, Cavaliers brass reportedly met with WOIO management to request that Reed not cover the Cavs home games.”

No word from Rose or anyone, though, on how such an “open secret” could possibly have remained so for so long in Cleveland, where the population could hardly be more disposed to pile dirt on LeBron. Nor any word as to why Rose’s source wouldn’t have been able to find a more credible outlet, or even a more popular gossip site, to get the word out. The Plain Dealer’s own itchy trigger-finger is some powerful evidence of the improbability that such a story, if true, would have been kept under wraps for so long.

UPDATE (7/6): Reed’s Cleveland-based attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Cleveland Leader yesterday, a copy of which has been posted here.

UPDATE (7/9): More details on the genesis of the rumor at The Big Lead here.

  • BIKI024

    mmm, Sharon Reed. word Bron! (if true)

  • ClevelandFrowns

    Is this thing on?

    • GrandRapidsRustlers

      We are all scared to death because Sandra Rose is behind us.

    • CleveLandThatILove

      That’s what LeBron (should have) said.

  • vespo09

    5th of July…deadest day on the internet?

    • ClevelandFrowns

      A friend said, “it feels a little like a Monday, a little like a Friday, and a lot like a day I shouldn’t be at work [or leaving comments at internet websites].”

  • Bryan

    Here is a comment: the James/Reed story would be better if it was Shannon Tweed instead of Sharron Reed.

    Re: Waiters, I liked the article. Good perspective. Feeling better about him each day. Check out Waiters advanced stats relative to Barnes and Beal. He dominates them in PER, eFG%, and Asssist%, the three most relevant stats for a “scorer/creator” guy:

    http://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/dion-waiters-1.html
    http://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/bradley-beal-1.html
    http://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/harrison-barnes-1.html

  • HappyVanCamper

    This is 100% true.
    Sharon Reed was/is smoking hot.
    She just went POOF ! on 19 Action News.
    Here today and GONE.
    Remember folks.
    John Edwards getting busted as a prez. nominee for a child out of wed lock was broke by STAR MAGAZINE.
    The tabloid checkout rag.
    James is going to have to own this because Sharon Reed won’t kiss and tell, but LeBron and Savanna are not walking down an isle anytime soon either.
    What is so funny is Sharon had to have had this baby AFTER he left Cleveland which makes it so much worse.
    It couldn’t happen to a more deserving jerk.
    LeBron… you deserve this.

    • BIKI024

      deserve what exactly? having a smoking hot baby mama?

      • ClevelandFrowns

        How sure are you that she’s not wearing hip pads?

        • rgrunds

          Maybe they’re hockey pants.

    • rgrunds

      Savanna was a pre-fame connection. Part of his early adolescence.

  • Believelander

    Further proof that nobody actually cares about Miami Heat players: overwhelming torrent of 9 (now 10!) comments.
    #MoreCLEplz
    #GiveTheReadersWhatTheyWant

  • Believelander

    Censorship: for the birds.

    The absurdity levels around these parts have reached epic proportions. I would go on to explain why, but I am not going to waste my care on a site that has lost all resemblance to the forum of thought where the “unique, informed, and interesting takes on all things Cleveland sports are usually present.”

    All that I have left at this point is disappointment.

  • rgrunds

    Sharon…..girl!………haven’t you noticed?…..LeBron was hit HARD with the ugly stick. Hard and twice. Next thing you know, you’ll be tweeting Tyrone Hill.

    my, my…….why don’t you call Tim Duncan….?

  • mo_by_dick

    Two public figures can’t even have a secret baby anymore SMH

    • rgrunds

      Hey, the Nixon administration couldn’t even maintain one, itty-bitty conspiracy to misappropriate the American government.

    • ClevelandFrowns

      It is not the America that Thomas Jefferson envisioned.

      • acto

        Bravo Frownie, I wish T Jefferson would come back and straighten this country out. A Godzilla sized, angry, TJ!

        • Beeej

          I think you meant Teddy Roosevelt.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            No, I want an angry Godzilla sized Thomas Jefferson!

            Roosevelt??
            FDR maybe, but certainly not Teddy.

            The New Deal saved this country, but the big charge up San Juan Hill was only good for the newspapers.
            WRH specifically, “Rosebud” notwithstanding.

          • rgrunds

            Hey Acto,

            TR took on the corporations. He was not a bad guy.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            rgrunds,
            Perhaps you are correct.
            I would be unemployed if the monopolies were still in place, although it took until 1996 to let me in on the act.

  • ClevelandFrowns

    Reed’s attorney sent a cease-and-desist to the Cleveland Leader yesterday in connection with a post they did on the subject. The Leader posted a copy of it. http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/18560

    • nj0

      ” Until proven otherwise, these are mere allegations and may in fact not be true. However, as a news organization, we consider reporting on the existence of rumors to be valid.”

      LOL.

  • CleveLandThatILove

    Hot town, summer in the city
    Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
    Been down, isn’t it a pity
    Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city

    All around, people looking half dead
    Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head…

    • acto

      CLTIL,
      You stopped at the best part.

      At night it is a different world
      Go out and find a girl

      • CleveLandThatILove

        Cause I knew you’d pick it up from there. I’ll leave the girls to all of you guys, how about that?

        • acto

          I talked to a girl once.

          • Beeej

            REALLY!!! What was it like? Moms don’t count.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I just made that up, but I hope to someday.

  • mo_by_dick

    Check out this place that I found that still exists:

    https://twitter.com/geronimobydick/status/221060001635106816

    • ClevelandFrowns

      Amazing.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    first, dont care. but what’s the prob here?

    1. internet websites less reliable than MSM?
    i’m not sure that’s true. credentialed media types undoubtedly self-moderate on embarrassing stories of the players they cover. to do otherwise restricts future access. i couldnt begin to count the number of stories (cheesy usually) broken by tabloids that turn out to be true. monica lewinsky was not a relevant story to you or me, but it was to a lot of folks. would not have broken without the natl enquirer.

    2. not factual?
    you know lebron better than i do. but i assume he and savannah have some level of an ‘open’ relationship. i mean, didnt he moved to miami by himself while savannah and his kids stayed up north? dont care, but the amber rose story was out there for awhile. i dont find this story implausible..

    3. no one’s business?
    again, i dont care and you dont care. it’s surely not my business but who’s going to be the czar for determining what anyone’s business is and do you really want governmental control on that? for better or worse, ‘journalism’ is a business and page views have driven the flavor reporting in that industry since pulitzer and hearst. frankly i’ve got a bigger problem when espn spikes arash markazi’s candid ‘a nite with lebron’ story than i do with a gossip site reporting gossip.

    this hasn’t come up before, but i would have figured you for a pro-first-amendment guy.

    if this love-child turns out to be dan gilbert’s i expect the coverage here will be a lot different..

    • actovegin1armstrong

      jk,
      Please, an explanation for the hopelessly uninformed.

      ” i would have figured you for a pro-first-amendment guy”

      Was the first amendment the one about giving guns to bears?
      Was it about Bill’s rights?
      Was it the right to “some assembly required”?

      • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

        shtick?
        on such a weighty matter??
        you been dipping into the bacardi dragonberry drinks that brosef’s wife likes???

        No. No, man. Shit no, man.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          “No. No, man. Shit no, man.”
          jk,
          How do you really feel about it? Please do not hold back, do not be so timid.

          My apologies if my “shtick” bothered you.
          I was drinking the last drops of some cheap box wine, it always impairs my already highly questionable judgement.

          • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

            no worries acto.

            i thought dietrich bader in a mullet was the universal code for irony or at least a recognized variation of the smiley face.. didnt mean to confuse.

          • acto

            Dietrich Bader?
            I thought that was my nephew Jamie, he still wears a comparable mullet.

            I try to add some francophile class so I call it a moo-lay.

          • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

            here’s the clip.. from office space. you want to see this movie..

    • ClevelandFrowns

      Why is this hard?

      1. First and foremost re: the PD: Run the story, stand by it, or don’t run it at all.

      2. Some internet websites are fine and some are excellent, of course, but plenty are trash, with a vast wasteland of worthlessness in between. Take a look at Sandra Rose, what do you really think about her credibility? Just asking the question. A perfectly legitimate one here.

      3. And specifically with respect to her report here, how likely do you think something like this could have remained such an “open secret” as she tells it? Again, just asking the question. Again, a perfectly legitimate question here.

      4. That the PD pulled the report so quickly strongly suggests that they know they were being irresponsible with respect to how they resolved questions 2. and 3. above.

      5. That nobody else has been able to come up with any more information or otherwise verify Rose’s report is further evidence of its falsehood, and the PD’s itchy trigger finger is as well, as it goes to the evident point re: how inclined folks are to pile dirt on LeBron, especially in this town.

      Each of these points is well worth commenting on here, especially given the steam these rumors have gained (and the First Amendment really doesn’t have anything to do with any of it). Why would you suggest otherwise, or that these questions would be any less pertinent if Gilbert was the subject of the rumors? Other than that you don’t like my opinions on Gilbert and LeBron, that you happen to be afflicted with certain delusions related to the idea that everybody who has anything has it because he “deserves” it for having done things that are good for humanity, etc. Of course. I know. Anyway, I still love you.

      • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

        so is the problem that the PD ran the report? or that they pulled it?

        if it’s that they pulled it, is the problem that they pulled due to lack of substance /couldnt corroborate sources? or maybe they did have enough to validate the story but pulled it due to sensible rights-of-privacy concerns? either way, if someone over there smartened up and tried to correct earlier bad judgement, i cant kill them for that.

        if rose’s report is proven correct does that make story fair game? if woj or windhorst (for example) know this story to be true and sat on it, is that good or bad? i truly really dont care about lebron’s private world, but i do have a problem when powerful MSM outlets selectively conspire to burnish (or tarnish) the images of public figures. (see markazi spike above.)

        that the PD/cleve-dot-com has become a clearinghouse for blog postings (well, all blogs but this one), is well known so maybe that’s the disconnect for me. this incident is reflective of dubious editorial practices over there these days.. just didn’t didn’t hit me as noteworthy. but if it became fodder for incessant talk radio yak, i could see where that would command a brisk frownsing.

        btw, i shouldn’t have larded it up with the gilbert parallel. i wouldn’t say i dont like your opinions on gilbert and lebron. on the contrary, i like/enjoy the hell out of them. disagree on several levels for sure.. but dont dislike them.

        • mo_by_dick

          “brisk frownsing”

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