NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An attorney for former ESPN executive Keith Clinkscales is hoping a lawsuit against an ex-ESPN employee will serve to protect his client’s reputation.

At issue is an article that was published by Deadspin that claimed Clinkscales fondled himself on a flight while sitting next to on-air personality Erin Andrews.

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The article was published after the lawsuit was filed.

“That was factored into the equation, the lack of respect in the sports world for Deadspin,” Judd Burstein, Clinkscales’ attorney, told the New York Daily News. “If the allegation had come from a credible New York newspaper, I would have taken a different tact.”

Burstein is seeking more than $75,000 in damages on behalf of the ex-senior VP of content development.

Citing a source, Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio wrote that Clinkscales was reportedly caught masturbating under the cover of his iPad by Andrews. The site alleges he then “panicked and muttered, ‘You know, I’m one of your bosses.'”

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“It if had happened, there would have been witnesses,” Burstein said. “He would have been arrested.”

Andrews reportedly told the Deadspin source, believed by Clinkscales to be Joan Lynch, about the incident. Burstein charges that Lynch, who was fired from ESPN by Clinkscales, “shouldn’t be able to get away with this.”

Daulerio referenced Oscar De La Hoya when asked for comment from the Daily News. According to the Daily News, Burstein brought a legal battle against Milana Dravnel, a New York City stripper, after she attempted in 2007 to sell photos of De La Hoya in drag — photos the boxer had insisted were doctored.

This September, De La Hoya admitted the shocking pics were authentic.

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Your thoughts on the lawsuit? On Deadspin? Sound off in the comments below…