ESPN fires announcer over run-in with colleague
ESPN has fired long-time college football announcer Ron Franklin after an incident with sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards last week. According to several reports, the incident happened prior to a production meeting for the network's Chick-fil-A Bowl coverage. Franklin and ESPN analysts were discussing a non-football topic just before the meeting when Edwards, who was assigned as the sideline reporter, tried to join the conversation. According to the reports, Franklin told her, "Listen to me, sweet baby, let me tell you something …" When Edwards told Franklin she did not like being addressed like that, Franklin then said, "Okay, then listen to me (expletive).'' The expletive was another word for rear end.
Sports Illustrated spoke with Edwards, who confirmed the story, but added she wasn't the one who reported Franklin to ESPN executives. ESPN acknowledged the incident did occur and wanted to pull Franklin from the telecast, but could not find a replacement in time. Franklin, however, was pulled from ESPN's radio broadcast of the Fiesta Bowl a night later.
Franklin released a statement saying, "I said some things I shouldn't have and am sorry. I deserved to be taken off the Fiesta Bowl."
Well, that wasn't good enough. ESPN fired Franklin on Tuesday.
This wasn't the first time Franklin, who has been with ESPN since 1987, said something demeaning to a female colleague. During a 2005 broadcast, Franklin, in a degrading tone, called sideline reporter Holly Rowe "sweetheart.''
It's a bit disconcerting that it took ESPN four days to fire Franklin for an incident that everyone, including Franklin, admits happened. But better late than never. Franklin deserved to go for behavior that has no place in the work place. Or anywhere, for that matter.