SBD/Issue 25/Sports Media

UM Broadcaster Lamar Thomas Fired For Comments During Brawl

Comcast Sports SouthEast Fires Lamar
Thomas Over Comments During Brawl
Comcast Sports SouthEast (CSS) fired Univ. of Miami (UM) TV analyst Lamar Thomas yesterday for comments he made during the brawl between UM and Florida Int’l Univ. Saturday night, according to Garvin & Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Thomas, who played at UM from ’89-92, “cheered the fight on from [the] broadcasting booth and even threatened to join it.” Thomas said on-air, “You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. You don’t come into the [Orange Bowl] playing that stuff.” After referees got control of the situation, Thomas added, “Why don’t they just meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more?” CSS GM Mark Fuhrman said Thomas “blurred the line between what takes place as a participant and your role as a broadcaster.” Fuhrman added UM officials, who were consulted about the firing, “were supportive of the decision.” Before he was fired, Thomas said that no one from CSS “suggested he tone it down during the telecast, and that he had not heard from the network since.” Thomas: “This thing blew up into a national event, and I was caught with my pants down. If I had to do it all over again, I would be a little more tactful” (MIAMI HERALD, 10/17). Thomas added, “They decided not to continue with my contract because there’s so much heat going on right now” (PALM BEACH POST, 10/17).

REAX: In Orlando, Jemele Hill writes, “Some in the media already go out of their way to portray minorities as more violent than anyone else and Thomas’ comments only justified that stereotype.” Thomas’ cheering “not only reflected poorly on him and other minorities, but on [UM], which for years has battled an outlaw reputation” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/17). In San Jose, John Ryan: “Hard as it seems to pull off, Thomas made fellow ‘The U’ alum Michael Irvin sound positively erudite” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/17). Irvin, now an NFL analyst on ESPN, said on “SportsCenter” yesterday Thomas’ firing “was justified. You cannot promote that type of behavior” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 10/16).

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