Was Sportscaster Pulled From Game Coverage For Off-Air Comments?
January 3, 2011 at 3:00 PM (PT)
Was veteran ESPN RADIO play-by-play voice RON FRANKLIN pulled from the network's radio coverage of the FIESTA BOWL because of off-air remarks aimed at sideline reporter JEANNINE EDWARDS? SPORTSBYBROOKS.COM is reporting that FRANKLIN, EDWARDS, and ED CUNNINGHAM were scheduled to work SATURDAY's game but that FRANKLIN was suddenly yanked from the assignment after EDWARDS reported comments made by FRANKLIN at a production meeting to network management.
The site reports that EDWARDS attempted to join a conversation about announcer ROD GILMORE's wife's election as Mayor of ALAMEDA, CA, only to be allegedly told by FRANKLIN, "Why don't you leave this to the boys, sweetcakes?," and, after EDWARDS objected to that term, "Okay, then, a--hole."
Later MONDAY, EDWARDS confirmed the incident to USA TODAY but said FRANKLIN called her "sweet baby" rather than "sweetcakes." And FRANKLIN apologized late MONDAY, telling SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's SI.COM, "I said some things I shouldn't have, and I'm sorry. I deserved to be taken off the FIESTA BOWL."
FRANKLIN was not pulled from the CHICK-FIL-A BOWL broadcast the same day as the meeting, but did not call the FIESTA BOWL, with DAVE LAMONT filling in. The network's spokesman JOSH KRULEWICZ told SPORTSBYBROOKS.COM, "We made a late play by play change to the FIESTA BOWL radio team. We're not going to get into specifics other than to say adhering to our personal conduct policies and showing respect for colleagues are of the utmost importance to our company and we take them extremely seriously."
FRANKLIN had previously been cited by then-ESPN ombudsman GEORGE SOLOMON for calling sideline reporter HOLLY ROWE "sweetheart" during a 2005 game, for which FRANKLIN apologized.