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Fox Sports reportedly has fired Pete Rose over underage-sex allegations

Pete Rose in a reflective moment during an interview in New York, Jan. 8, 2004. Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, has decided not to lift the permanent ban imposed on Rose more than a quarter-century ago, meaning the player with more hits than anyone else in the sport’s history will continue to be kept out of the Hall of Fame. (Vincent Laforet/The New York Times)

Disgraced MLB hit king Pete Rose was something of a surprise addition to Fox Sports' MLB studio show back in 2015, and while he was seen as a little rough around the edges, he generally garnered favorable reviews for his candid, crusty takes on modern-era baseball. In March, the network announced that Rose would be back for another season in 2017.

But Rose's run as a TV analyst is apparently over: According to a report Thursday in the Hollywood Reporter, he won't return to Fox Sports' MLB playoff coverage after allegations surfaced that he had a sexual relationship with an underage girl in the 1970s.

The network declined comment both to the Reporter's Lesley Goldberg and Marisa Guthrie and Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch. An email from The Washington Post asking for comment on Friday was not immediately returned.

That claim came to light in a defamation lawsuit brought by Rose himself against John Dowd, the attorney who oversaw MLB's investigation into Rose's gambling that resulted in his banishment from the game in 1989. In multiple radio interviews last year, Dowd claimed that a sports memorabilia dealer who handled Rose's bets on baseball games also brought underage girls to spring training for Rose's "satisfaction." Rose denied the allegation and sued Dowd in July, but Dowd's attorneys countered by filing a sworn statement from an unnamed woman who alleged that Rose had a sexual relationship with her that started before she turned 16, the age of consent in Ohio (where both she and Rose lived at the time).

Rose, who was in his 30s and married with two children at the time, admitted to having a relationship with the woman but said the woman was 16.

As noted by Sports Illustrated legal expert Michael McCann, Fox Sports probably has reason to think it's within its rights to terminate Rose's contract.

A number of high-profile Fox television personalities have been accused of inappropriate behavior by female colleagues in recent months. The company recently suspended Fox Business Network anchor Charles Payne and Fox News Channel host Eric Bolling, and Fox Sports fired its president, Jamie Horowitz, in July (all three deny the allegations, and Bolling has filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against a journalist who reported that he sent lewd text messages to a female colleague).

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