Former Syracuse men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine. (Jim McIsaac/GETTY IMAGES)

The legal action names ESPN as well as reporter Mark Schwarz and producer Arthur Berko as defendants, alleging that they “ruined Laurie Fine’s reputation by maliciously publishing false and defamatory factual accusations.”

At the time of the Post-Standard report, ESPN hadn’t yet reviewed the complaint. It told the paper: “We haven’t had the opportunity to review the complaint. We stand by our reporting.”

Well, it has by now apparently eyeballed the 44-page document, and what a change! “The suit is without merit and we stand by our reporting,” the network says.