Monday, January 03, 2011

Disappointing start to New Year

The story about Ron Franklin's alleged sexist comments to fellow ESPN announcer Jeannine Edwards is a disappointing way to start the new year.

We've discussed sexism in sports at length in this blog, and there's really no reason to go into it further. If the story is true, Franklin is in the wrong and will have to face the consequences. It's somewhat puzzling because Franklin is a true gentlemen and terrific guy; he went out of his way to help our students during his visit to Ole Miss last April.

At the same time, a couple of years ago Franklin had a somewhat similar incident with sideline reporter Holly Rowe, calling her "sweetheart" on the air. ESPN solved the problem by moving Rowe to another announcing group. It will be interesting to see how the network handles this situation, given that Franklin has a track record of gender insensitivity.

My personal take is that Franklin, who is 68, is from the "old school" where such comments were considered endearing. (With the obvious exception of his follow-up comment to Edwards). That in no way excuses what Franklin said, but I would hope that some sensitivity training and/or workshops will allow him to stay on the air.


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