On Monday, news surfaces of a pre-game spat between ESPN’s Ron Franklin, a play-by-play announcer, and Jeannine Edwards, a sideline reporter who often worked with Franklin. When Edwards had tried to join in on a conversation Franklin was having with two other men who also worked for the sports network, the 68 year old broadcaster allegedly demeaned Edwards in a chauvinistic manner. When she protested to both his choice of words and his tone, he fired back with an obscenity.
It was not the first time Franklin had demeaned a female colleague. Today, however, the worldwide leader in sports decided it would be his last.
In a post on Monday, I detailed Franklin’s previous encounter. It occurred in October of 2005 on live TV. ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe praised a Purdue coach who had used all three of his timeouts in spite of the fact that his team was down by 28 points late in their game against Notre Dame. “If the coaches are giving up,” Rowe added, “what does that say to the players?”
Franklin’s responded with “Holly, it’s not giving up. It’s 49-21, sweetheart.” His words were dripping with condescension.
In my post on Monday, I opined that ESPN should terminate Ron Franklin for this second (known) offense. As a sports-crazed youth who grew up addicted to ESPN, I know firsthand how many kids tune into the network. The last thing I wanted was for a new generation of kids to think that such disrespectful language was acceptable.
“In essence,” I wrote, “Franklin and others like him set a poor example that I don’t want our kids to pick up on, namely that it’s okay to dismiss a point made by a woman as, well, a point made by a woman.”
Apparently ESPN shared my opinion. Just a little while ago, the New York Times reported that the network had severed ties with Franklin earlier today. He had been with the network since 1987. ESPN spokesperson Josh Krulewitz had this to say about the situation: “Based on what occurred last Friday, we have ended our relationship with him.”
While it’s always sad to see someone lose his job, it’s nowhere near as sad as it would have been had Franklin slipped up yet again. I’m thankful that ESPN took this matter seriously and that Franklin won’t be around to subject an impressionable generation of sports fans to his antiquated and sexist views.