That's where management and MLB can step in. They have the strength in the form of advertising dollars to put an end to this stuff.
Look, it's not OK, but in the world of journalism, it appears to be acceptable to do a slam job on someone when the subject can deal with the fallout, i.e., Barry Bonds. He's got more money than Carnegie, so let him deal.
The line gets crossed when you fabricate a story that has enourmous ramifications to an individual that has a family to feed, and is not financially secure.
If the Rays front office had been silent as to the aforementioned USA Today article, I would not expect any large degree of support from them when the players disputed the story. However, since and only because management was so quick (too quick in my opinion) to comment negatively about the story, to take their players to task, and to ultimately suspend Dukes (you're kidding yourself if you don't think the USA Today article had nothing to do with the suspension), it is morally incumbent upon them (Friedman and Madden) to, at this time, come out vociferously in support of Dukes, and even behind the scenes, demand disciplanary action against the reporter. Like I said, MLB, the Rays, and an advertising boycott have some serious teeth.
It would be great to see. Madden's already softened his stance by saying he's all for a second chance. Now lets see Friedman publically try to work this out with Dukes, and cal for disciplanary action against the reporter.