Monday, January 3, 2011

ESPN's Ron Franklin Pulled From Air After Calling Jeannine Edwards 'Sweetcakes,’ and ‘A–Hole’

One of my all-time favorite sports broadcasters is in a heap of trouble for his insensitive off-the-air remarks toward a female sideline reporter.

Ron Franklin was pulled from the air before Saturday's Fiesta Bowl after he called ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards "sweetcakes" during an off-air spat, according to the website

The website also reported today that "in an email to USA TODAY reporter Michael McCarthy, ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards confirmed today that ESPN colleague Ron Franklin called her an “a–hole” during a production meeting before the ESPN Chick-fil-A Bowl telecast last Friday."

Scheduled to work on the ESPN-TV broadcast of the Chick-fil-A Bowl Friday, Franklin and Edwards were part of a production meeting before the game that was also attended by ESPN announcers Ed Cunningham and Rod Gilmore. During the meeting, the subject of Gilmore’s wife Marie being elected Alameda (CA) mayor came up.

As Gilmore, Cunningham and Franklin discussed the subject, Edwards tried to join the conversation.

When she did, Franklin said to her, “Why don’t you leave this to the boys, sweetcakes.”

Edwards responded to Franklin by saying, “don’t call me sweetcakes, I don’t like being talked to like that.”

Franklin then said, “okay then, a–hole.”

After the meeting Edwards reported Franklin’s comments to ESPN management. Once ESPN college football coordinating producer Ed Placey confirmed Franklin’s comments to Edwards with Cunningham, ESPN executives made an attempt to pull Franklin off the Chick-fil-A Bowl broadcast the same day. Because of late notice, no replacement for Franklin was found and the longtime play-by-play announcer called the game - without incident - with Cunningham and Edwards.

With Edwards and Franklin scheduled to work together the next night in Arizona, top ESPN programming executives - including Norby Williamson and Mark Gross - were involved in the decision to pull Franklin off the Fiesta Bowl radio broadcast.

Dave Lamont filled in for Franklin.

When contacted, an ESPN representative could not comment on Franklin’s current status with the company.

Franklin signed a two-year contract with ESPN last July, with the deal calling for him to work 35 events for the network per year.

ESPM subsequently pulled Franklin from the game.

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