SBD/26/Law Politics

ALBERT, PART II: INSIGHT ON NBC'S DECISION TO DROP ALBERT

          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).
          
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