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Daredevil Knievel Sues ESPN

July 12, 2001

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) _ Daredevil Evel Knievel and his wife are suing ESPN, claiming a photograph posted on the cable sports network’s Web site damaged their reputations.

The photograph, which has since been removed, showed Knievel, wife Krystal and an unidentified woman above a caption that read: ``Evel Knievel proves that you’re never too old to be a pimp.″

The Knievels said the display was defamatory because it implied the couple was involved in illegal prostitution. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Their lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Butte District Court, argues that ESPN accused the couple of ``immoral and improper behavior″ intended to disgrace them.

``We have not yet seen the lawsuit, so we don’t have any comment,″ ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said Thursday.

Knievel became famous during the 1970s as a high-flying, hard-living motorcycle stuntman. He broke about 35 bones in leaps over buses, cars and casino fountains.

The Knievels posed for the photo April 7 at ESPN’s request, following the network’s Action Sports & Music Awards, the lawsuit says. Knievel, who is partial to wearing rose-tinted glasses and gold chains, was a celebrity participant in the event.

The picture, showing Knievel with his arms around his wife and the second woman, was displayed on the Web site for six days in April, before Knievel demanded it be removed, the lawsuit says.

Knievel claims the photo and caption not only harmed his reputation, but that several companies he represents severed their professional ties with him because of the posting.

He divides his time among homes in Florida, Las Vegas and Butte. He underwent a liver transplant in 1999 and has diabetes and hepatitis C.

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