While Jim Lampley is denying having knocked around his former beauty queen girlfriend (above), the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick can’t resist using Lamps’ legal woes as an excuse to settle an old score.

We don’t know whether the domestic abuse charge and related charges (violation of a restraining order, attempt to prevent a witness from testifying) against Jim Lampley have merit. But we do know that despite an on-air presence as a handsome, erudite, thoughtful journalist, Lampley is a tough guy to go to bat for.

Years ago, when Lampley was with ABC Sports, a TV columnist praised ABC’s coverage and Lampley’s narration of a cross-continent bicycle race, a race in which one of the competitors was killed.

The columnist asked Lampley whether he felt ABC might have played a tiny role in that death, whether the bicyclist might have pushed himself to an extreme because TV coverage made the stakes higher.

Lampley said it was an issue he couldn’t entirely dismiss, an issue that bothered him. It was a gutsy reply, and the columnist wrote it.

Lampley then was called on ABC’s legal carpet for having suggested that ABC might be in any part liable for that accidental death.

So Lampley simply told ABC that the columnist – me – had totally fabricated his response, that he had said nothing of the sort.

I’m wondering if someone, say, a responsible newspaper like the New York Post, were to ask Lampley for his version of events, if he wouldn’t instead say that some of his comments to Phil were off the record?  Or that he’d been quoted out of context?  Both might seem like arcane points compared to the offense Mushnick alleges, but I can’t help but suspect Lampley has a side of the story, too.  Merely because he’s been accused of an unrelated crime seems like a cheap excuse to challenge his credibility as a journalist.  There’s a time and a place for addressing beefs with no evidence, and although the pay would suck, Phil might want to consider starting a blog.