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Think Before You Speak

 It was one of the ugliest weeks in sports media history as a result of comments made on the air during sports telecasts. It is a lesson for all broadcasters, sports or otherwise, to be very careful when anywhere near a microphone.

The most prominent incident was Thom Brennaman being suspended indefinitely by Fox Sports for his August 19th gay slur which got on the air during the Reds telecast on Fox Sports Ohio of the Reds game in Kansas City. There is no excuse for making such a comment, but making it under circumstances where it got on the air has likely cost him his broadcasting career.

As you would expect, he was immediately pulled off the Reds telecasts. Fox Sports followed up by pulling him from their NFL telecasts, where Brennaman had long been among the network's top three play-by-play voices.

In addition, it also means that for the first time since 1973, there is not anyone named Brennaman calling the Reds games in Cincinnati. Thom's father Marty had just retired from Reds radio following the 2019 baseball season.

Meanwhile, Mike Milbury, the long time NHL analyst for NBC and NBCSN has had his share on-air incidents since the NHL games have returned. Milbury got away with misidentifying the CN tower and criticizing Bruins goaltender Tuuka Rask's sudden decision to opt out. However, while commenting about the players remaining focused inside of the bubble during the playoffs, Milbury added that there is "not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration". Both NBC and the NHL issued statements showing their disappointment with what the sexist comment.

In Chicago, analyst Mark Grace, who has been providing studio analysis on the Chicago Cubs' Marquee Network during its debut season, was suspended from the broadcasts for five days. An on-air conversation drifted off topic and Grace referred to his ex-wife as "dingbat", a phrase taken from the old "All In The Family" TV show used by Archie Bunker nearly 50 years ago.

At least these actions were taken over comments made on the air during actual broadcasts and not due to something said or posted only on social media.

ESPN has stayed in the family for its new Monday Night Football broadcasting team. As expected, Steve Levy will move over from the college side and handle play-by-play, with his most recent college analyst, Brian Griese, staying with Levy. Louis Riddick will also serve as analyst. The trio will make their Monday Night Football debut as the second game of the Sept. 14th doubleheader calling the Titans vs. Broncos game. They replace Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland.

NBC's Peacock Channel is expanding its sports programming over the next six weeks. Along with streaming The Dan Patrick Show and The Rich Eisen Show, the network will add "Brother From Another" with Michael Smith (former ESPN anchor) and Michael Holley (former NBC Sports Boston) to its late afternoon time slot. Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio will stream in morning drive.

BALTIMORE: Ravens Radio WBAL-AM and WIYY-FM is going to a three man booth starting this season. Former Ravens Dennis Pitta and Femi Avanbadejo both join Gerry Sandusky in the booth.

CHICAGO: Just as the White Sox begin to rise in the standings for the first time in several years, the word is that WGN-AM is not looking to renew its White Sox contract which expires after this season after three seasons. The natural fit is WVMP ESPN 1000, which currently has no major local play-by-play. WMVP just moved its local morning show with David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood up to a 7 AM start, making it local in the morning for the first time (20 years as a sports station).

This post first appeared on THE BROADCAST BOOTH, please read the originial post: here

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Think Before You Speak


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