SBD/January 5, 2011/Media

ESPN Fires Ron Franklin Following Incident With Colleague

Franklin had been a prominent announcer on ESPN's college football coverage since '87

ESPN has fired college football announcer Ron Franklin following his interaction with colleague Jeannine Edwards before the Chick-fil-A Bowl. ESPN in a brief statement said, "Based on what occurred last Friday, we have ended our relationship with him" (THE DAILY). Franklin joined ESPN in '87 and "for a while was one of its most prominent college football announcers" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/5). In DC, Paul Farhi notes Franklin is the "latest ESPN personality to lose his job or face disciplinary action for behavior toward a female colleague that the network deemed inappropriate." Baseball analyst Harold Reynolds and ESPN Radio host Jason Jackson were fired in '06 and '02, respectively, for "alleged sexual harassment." Also, baseball analyst Steve Phillips "lost his job in 2009 as a result of an affair with an ESPN production assistant" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/5). FANHOUSE.com's Milton Kent wrote that ESPN's firing of Franklin for the incident is a "sign that the Worldwide Leader truly does take the concerns of female staffers seriously, or is at least doing a better job of letting the public know that it does." ESPN has been "plagued over its 31-year history by allegations that it essentially condoned sexual harassment or worse against female producers, on-air reporters and anchors and support staff, with winks and nods, but little punishment to male offenders." But to its "credit, the channel has gone to great lengths to clean up the perception that it allowed an 'Animal House' mentality to prevail." Kent: "Franklin's firing reaffirms that boys shouldn't necessarily feel comfortable being boys at ESPN" (FANHOUSE.com, 1/4).

ONLY BECAUSE OF MEDIA PICK-UP? YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase wrote once word of the Franklin-Edwards incident "proved to have legs throughout the holiday weekend, ESPN had little choice but to fire Franklin." ESPN should be "praised for taking a stand, but the fact that it waited four days suggests that if the Franklin story had gone away quickly, he'd still have a job today" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/4).

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