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Kenny
Nov 5th, 2006, 05:33 PM
Networks have little tolerance for sportscasters' insensitive remarks

By Charles Bricker
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted November 5 2006

His words were flowing like machine-gun bullets as fast-talking Sid Rosenberg defended Lamar Thomas' wild television rant during the Miami-FIU brawl Oct. 15, and given Rosenberg's own history, his defense wasn't surprising.

"Whoever hired Lamar Thomas knew he was a firecracker. Did they expect he would become Ted Koppel?" said Rosenberg, whose rat-a-tat-tat patois can be heard five days a week on 790 The Ticket (WAXY-AM). "All this censorship on radio and TV ... you can trace it back to the Janet Jackson incident at the Super Bowl," Rosenberg blared. "Radio still has a bit of that maverick thing going for it. But for TV, it's getting worse."

If it's getting "worse" for Rosenberg, who was fired in 2001 at New York's WFAN for racial remarks about tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, it's getting more "responsible" for Vince Doria, senior vice president at ESPN, which came down swiftly on one of its broadcasters last week for an injudicious remark about homosexuality.

"We've got to get people to understand they're addressing an audience out there, and they're not on the sideline anymore," said Doria, his remarks aimed particularly at former athletes who have become TV analysts. "Issues of race, gender, inappropriate sexual comments ... there's no place for that right now."

Less than a week after Doria made that emphatic statement, former Dolphins tight end Brian Kinchen, working the Northern Illinois-Iowa football game, was explaining that receivers have to catch with their hands, not their chests. After noting that hands are "tender" and can "caress" the ball, he added, "That's kind of gay, but hey ... "

He was yanked off the air for this weekend and ESPN is "reviewing" his future with the network.

Despite continuing efforts by most broadcast organizations to sensitize their on-air talent to certain classes of people, the past four weeks have been a disaster.

Baseball analyst Steve Lyons on Fox was fired for "inappropriate" remarks about TV sidekick Lou Piniella's Hispanic heritage, even though Piniella a few days later said: "There isn't a racist bone in his body. Not one. I know the guy personally. He was kidding with me. Nothing more, nothing less."

Next under the guillotine was Thomas, the former University of Miami and Dolphins player. "You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked," Thomas said as UM and FIU players began assaulting each other at the Orange Bowl.

Then he added, "I was about to go down the elevator and get into that thing," which probably left some university officials gasping in disbelief.

Merril Hoge, the former Pittsburgh Steelers running back who has made a successful transition from the locker room to ESPN studio analyst, says he and his colleagues talk about on-air gaffes and they were as flabbergasted as everyone else by the Thomas incident.

"I remember saying, `Are you kidding me? How stupid can you possibly be.' There can be a transition from athlete to commentator. No question there is a certain learning curve there," said Hoge. "But for me some of these things are just a matter of common sense."

ESPN, which does the most sports broadcasting in the United States, has in place a series of compulsory meetings for its on-air talent, and in addition to a preseason seminar, there are cautions throughout the year about being aware of sensitive remarks.

"Prior to every season, whether it's football, baseball or basketball, all analysts, play-by-play and studio people come to Bristol [ESPN's corporate headquarters in Connecticut], where they are addressed by several people in the company on issues of editorial integrity and balance," Doria said.

For some, there is perhaps a sense that the pendulum on controversial on-air remarks has swung from one extreme to the other and that it needs to find some middle ground which is less concerned with political correctness.

Did Fox, for example, over-react to the Lyons incident?

"Without commenting on it, it's clear that even if you're just partially guilty or if there is just some question, in the current environment you're not going to have much tolerance for that," Doria said.

"But, yes, the pendulum is swinging that way."

At Comcast Sports Southeast, for whom Thomas was working, his remarks were a wake-up call.

"Unlike the networks, we have a unique situation here," said Comcast General Manager Mark Fuhrman, who fired Thomas. "We partner with the schools we have relationships with and allow them to have input, if not direct say, on who we hire for our games."

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/football/pro/dolphins/sfl-spbroadcast05nov05,0,4169473.story?track=rss


I'm just curious as to what he said. Anyone remember this?

Kenny
Nov 6th, 2006, 03:57 AM
Anyone?

StarDuvallGrant
Nov 6th, 2006, 04:46 AM
Here is an article:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_4_100/ai_76513096

I guess those who say race is irrelevant to the Williams Sisters are complete idiots.

ToeTag
Nov 6th, 2006, 04:52 AM
This is him. He also called the US women's soccer team a "bunch of juiced up dykes" on McEnroes old MSNBC{?} show.

http://powerhouseproductions.org/newblogimages/sr44.jpg

LoveFifteen
Nov 6th, 2006, 04:54 AM
I can't believe they would rehire him, apology notwithstanding. :o

spencercarlos
Nov 6th, 2006, 04:55 AM
Here is an article:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_4_100/ai_76513096

I guess those who say race is irrelevant to the Williams Sisters are complete idiots.
wow not only that he called them disgusting boys, but also implied them to be animals @National Geo... I can´t even understand why he is being hired again :rolleyes:

Kenny
Nov 6th, 2006, 05:13 AM
Thanks for responding! :)

esquímaux
Nov 6th, 2006, 05:32 AM
...she and sister Serena had a better chance of posing nude for National Geographic than Playboy:lol: That's horrible! :o

Kunal
Nov 6th, 2006, 06:41 AM
damn he seems like a hate writer

olivia100
Nov 6th, 2006, 11:37 AM
Serena and Venus never even responded. As always they just keep their mouth shut and go on about their business. Even when they were younger and the other tennis players use to pick on them they did the same thing, just shut their mouths and move on.

Some radio announcer in Belgium a couple of years ago called them monkeys too, and again they said not one damn word. I am telling you those two young ladies really got abused by a lot of people, and for the most part it is still happening. I can't wait until finish tennis and write a book about all this stuff.