ESPN now says in a statement that Arash Markazi's LeBacchanalia story was pulled because "Arash did not ... clearly state his intentions to write a story." Full statements are below, as is Rob King's explanation for how the story was mistakenly published.
First, a statement from King, editor-in-chief of ESPN.com:
ESPN.com will not be posting the story in any form. We looked into the situation thoroughly and found that Arash did not properly identify himself as a reporter or clearly state his intentions to write a story. As a result, we are not comfortable with the content, even in an edited version, because of the manner in which the story was reported. We've been discussing the situation with Arash and he completely understands. To be clear, the decisions to pull the prematurely published story and then not to run it were made completely by ESPN editorial staff without influence from any outside party.
And now from Markazi his own self:
I have been in conversations with ESPN.com's editors and, upon their complete review, understand their decision not to run the story. It is important to note that I stand by the accuracy of the story in its entirety, but should have been clearer in representing my intent to write about the events I observed.
UPDATE: In an email to me, King disputed my story yesterday, in which I wrote that Markazi's piece "pretty much went through the usual editorial process." King says:
Story was under review ... heavy review ... and waiting for such sign-off. Deputy editor errantly published it to a server but the story was never posted on a page, just searchable (bad enough mistake as that is). It received initial reads here (by the assigning editors, not the copy desk), reads that were sufficient to raise red flags. And the call to never republish is and was mine and mine alone.
UPDATE #2: We're told Markazi might be suspended. It's "to be determined."