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ALBERT, PART II: INSIGHT ON NBC'S DECISION TO DROP ALBERT
Published September 26, 1997
The "order to fire" Marv Albert "came directly from" NBC President Robert Wright, according to Michael Starr of the N.Y. POST (N.Y. POST, 9/26). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Stephen Battaglio writes, "Sources said NBC likely dropped the ax quickly on Albert because he lied to top executives about the incident" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/26). REAX: Albert's attorney Roy Black asked if he was surprised by NBC's move: "I don't know if I'm so surprised ... as much as I am by the way they did it. They give the guy 15 minutes after this and immediately fire him. You would think someone who had worked for the network for 23 years ... would spend more than 15 minutes in making a decision like that" ("Larry King Live," 9/25). Albert's attorney Peter Greenspun: "We're surprised they didn't wait until the time of sentencing" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/26). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes that NBC's statement "bespoke betrayal," and while NBC and MSG "adored" him, if they "were inclined to keep him, advertisers and affiliates would surely lobby to have him fired" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/26). In N.Y., Harvey Araton: "Some will ask why Albert isn't moral enough to call [NBA] games played by the likes of Iverson and Rodman, et al. The answer is this: He is replaceable. He is a messenger. ... A messenger who embodies the wrong message is one problem that [NBA Commissioner David] Stern can make disappear" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/26). NEWSDAY's Gay & Zipay report there was "widespread speculation that Albert ... would somehow salvage his career" at NBC. While NBC execs "agonized over the decision .. it was equally obvious that NBC was in an increasingly untenable position for other reasons. Foremost, there is a major question over whether Albert's continued employment might have affected NBC's renegotiations with the NBA and NFL for future telecasts" (NEWSDAY, 9/26). Newark Star-Ledger's Dan Wasserman: "[L]et's face it: he pleads guilty to assaulting a woman in a hotel room during kinky sex. This is not the type of [person] that a family-oriented network and company such as NBC and [GE] want to have on their payroll" ("Sports Inc.," 9/25). In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes Albert "had to go" but "what is surprising is the swiftness with which the end came" (SUN, 9/26). In L.A., Larry Stewart: "NBC did what it had to do ... swiftly and cleanly" (L.A. TIMES, 9/26). Also in L.A., Tom Hoffarth calls NBC's "swift decision ... inevitable, but ... bogus" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/26). Bergen Record media writer Mike Celizic: "The guy is radioactive, get rid of him ... I don't think they want anything to do with him, and I don't blame them." The N.Y. Post's Wallace Matthews: "I'm not at all surprised by it, but I have to say I'm a little disappointed. You would think that after 20 years of service, NBC would owe Marv Albert at least the courtesy of allowing him to land in New York and break the news to him before they broke it to everybody else" (MSNBC, 9/25). In DC, Michael Wilbon: "I don't blame NBC for not wanting to put up with further headaches over this mess. ... But I also won't blame any entity from wanting to hire Albert a year from now if he has taken the necessary steps to deal with his behavioral problems" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/26). NEWSDAY's Shaun Powell writes under the header, "Why Was Marv Fired Over A Misdemeanor?" Powell: "None of NBC's games had Albert as the main feature, and yet by firing him, he essentially was treated as one" (NEWSDAY, 9/26).