SBD/Issue 244/Sports Media

Nats Remove Dibble From MASN Team After Strasburg Comments

Nationals Reportedly Made Call To Remove
Dibble From MASN, Not The Network

The Nationals yesterday announced that they have removed MASN analyst Rob Dibble "from their broadcast team," according to J. Freedom duLac of the WASHINGTON POST. Dibble has been "absent from the broadcast booth since Aug. 25, after controversy erupted over comments he'd made on his daily Sirius XM radio show" about Nationals P Stephen Strasburg. Dibble has been a "polarizing presence on Nationals telecasts since his arrival last season," and the Strasburg comments became his "walk-off riff." Nationals execs -- apparently "furious about the remarks -- eventually decided to dump him with a year and a month left on his three-year contract." Sources indicated that while Nationals TV broadcasters are employees of MASN, the team "makes the hiring and firing decisions." DuLac notes during his nearly two seasons in the booth, Dibble was a "lightning rod, stirring up the fan base with the style and substance of his analysis." Favored words included "we," "us," "our," and "smack 'em yack 'em," his signature home run call (WASHINGTON POST, 9/2). There is "no word on a permanent replacement for MASN, but Ray Knight will serve as the analyst at least through the end of the Nationals' current road trip," which continues through the weekend. Knight "may finish the season out, but the Nationals may also try out new analysts in the season's final month" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/1).

PARTING SHOTS: Dibble this morning on his Sirius XM Radio show said, "As you may know, I made some statements last week about Stephen Strasburg, and have been called controversial and angered many. In my role as analyst for the Nationals, and (with) the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, I now realize that my comments were inappropriate and disrespectful. I have regret that my time with the team will have to end this way, but have learned from the mistake and look forward to putting it behind me" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/2). Comcast SportsNet's Ivan Carter last night said, "I'm kind of torn on this. I like the guy as an announcer. His job is to say what he says. He didn't say it (the Strasburg comments) in his role for that network." But the Washington Post's Gene Wang said, "You really have to be thoughtful with your comments, especially in a sensitive situation like Strasburg. To throw that out there, it's just unprofessional and irresponsible, and you have got to know there will be some consequences for it" ("Washington Post Live," Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, 9/1).

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