One of America's leading female sports writers has insinuated that Erin Andrews may have been partially responsible for cultivating a "frat house" fan base that led to a Peeping Tom video taping her in the nude and posting the video on the Internet.
"If you trade off your sex appeal, if you trade off your looks, eventually you're going to lose those," USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan said Wednesday on the sports radio show 850 "The Buzz." "She doesn't deserve what happened to her, but part of the shtick, seems to me, is being a little bit out there in a way that then are you encouraging the complete nutcase to drill a hole in a room.
"Erin [Andrews] did not deserve this. I want to make that crystal clear. But she's got to be smarter and better," she said.
She later tweeted that "women sports journalists need to be smart and not play to the frat house."
Following her comments, readers expressed their outrage with Brenna's words online.
"Never thought I would see a woman go with the 'she was asking for it' take. Thought that was only for chauvinist male pigs," one commenter wrote on the sports blog "The Big Lead."
"It sickened me to hear what she was saying about EA …," one reader wrote on Twitter to "Good Morning America's" Kate Snow.
Brennan now says her comments have been misunderstood.
"If my words had been interpreted as being critical of Erin [Andrews], that is the last thing I want," Brennan said. "I would say to Erin: be smart, be terrific, be talented. You are all of that anyway. There is nothing I said about Erin Andrews that I haven't said to myself every day of my career of 28 years."
Brennan's controversial comments came as ESPN announced it was severing all ties with the New York Post due to the newspaper's published report that included nude pictures of Andrews taken from the videos.
"In light of the NY Post's decision to run graphic photos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, we have decided to stop utilizing Post reporters on any of our outlets," ESPN said, according their statement. "Running photos obtained in such a fashion went well beyond the boundaries of common decency in the interest of sensationalism."
At least one freelance journalist for the New York Post quit over the way this story was being covered, according to Andrews' attorney Marshall Grossman.
The New York Post fought back today in their gossip section Page Six with a scathing report claiming it was ESPN's fault the story got out in the first place.
"No one would have known that a sick voyeur had secretly videotaped ESPN reporter Erin Andrews nude in her hotel room, if the Mickey Mouse sports network hadn't sent a letter to an obscure Web site demanding that it take down its link to a fuzzy video of an unidentified blonde," the report read in part.
New York Post spokesperson Suzi Halpin told ABC News the Page Six report "serves as our comment" on the story.
"The Post's attack on ESPN and Erin is clearly an attempt to draw attention away from its despicable print coverage and that of its sister company Fox News," Grossman said in response to the Page Six item. "The fact of the matter is that various posts were identifying this person as a prominent personality and sportscaster and people were speculating it was her. We confirmed it was her and was a violation… to put a stop to the speculation and put the world on notice."
As the search for the camera-wielding culprit continues, ESPN told ABC News that they have not discounted the possibility that one of their employees could have been the cameraman and are exploring all possible angles.
Grossman told ABC News that there are "parallel investigations proceeding by ESPN and by our law firm."
"In conjunction with Erin's attorney we are looking at all possibilities," said ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz.
ESPN is owned by Disney which also owns ABC News.
Millions of Internet users scoured the Web for videos of the ESPN sportscaster. Amateur and professional sleuths looking for a culprit now contend that there are actually multiple clips which appear to have been filmed in at least two locations.
The clips of Andrews, 31, a statuesque blonde who has developed a devoted following since starting at ESPN in 2004 , were posted online late last week, and searches for the videos have topped Google's trend list for the past three days.
The grainy images shot through what appears to be a makeshift hole in a wall, show Andrews undressing and appearing nude in an unknown hotel room, apparently unaware that she is being filmed.
The Web site TMZ.com has viewed several pieces of footage and surmised there are six separate clips circulating online, four filmed at one hotel and two from a second.
According to the site, the first set of videos was filmed through a round hole, and the second set filmed through a jagged hole. There is reportedly different furniture in each of the rooms.
Many of the Web sites initially hosting the clip have since removed it, but the video continues to live on the Internet in cached versions.
A cached clip found by ABC News, but of unconfirmed authenticity, shows grainy images of a naked woman whom the camera seems to be following, indicating the camera may be hand held.
In a previous statement Andrews' lawyer Marshall Grossman said no one has yet to be identified, as the video maker.
"Although the perpetrator or perpetrators of this criminal act have not yet been identified, when they are identified she intends to bring both civil and criminal charges against them and against anyone who has published the material. We request respect of Erin's privacy at this time, while she and her representatives are working with the authorities," said Grossman.
Though Grossman has vowed to see the peeping Tom prosecuted, other victims of so-called video voyeurs say few states have laws against filming someone without their consent.
Just 19 states have laws that ban filming someone without their knowledge.