WFLA: Devil Ray PR director threatened sportscaster

WFLA-TV Tampa, Fla., has written a letter of protest to Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays contending that the team's media-relations officer threatened sportscaster J.P. Peterson during an attempt to resolve a dispute over the airing of a tape.

The team and the station have been at odds since WFLA-TV aired a video -- made by another station during spring training -- of manager Lou Piniella cursing his team's performance during a loss to the Houston Astros.

The team said the tape was made in violation of arrangements between baseball and the media.

WFLA-TV news director Forrest Carr said his staff did not make the tape, but the station ran it because it was newsworthy.

But with the station's press credentials at apparent risk, Peterson and producer David Cook met with Devil Rays public-relations director Rick Vaughn, who, Carr said, let loose a stream of profanity of his own and threatened Peterson.

Carr called the actions "outrageous, unprofessional and unacceptable" and sought both an apology and assurances that the incident would not be repeated. Team officials could not be reached late Wednesday.