SBD/May 16, 2011/Media

ESPN's Matthew Barnaby Not Making On-Air Appearance After Domestic Dispute

Barnaby faces five charges following domestic incident in New York

ESPN hockey analyst Matthew Barnaby pleaded not guilty Saturday in Amherst Town Court in New York to "five charges, including one felony, following a domestic incident Friday evening involving his estranged wife and her friend," according to Gene Warner of the BUFFALO NEWS. Amherst Police Capt. Stephen McGonagle said that there were "no injuries -- and no physical contact." But there "was property damage." Police said that when Barnaby arrived at his former residence, he "attempted to enter and kicked the door, leaving an estimated $300 in damages." Barnaby "faces charges of felony criminal mischief, criminal contempt, criminal trespass, harassment and aggravated harassment." Barnaby on Saturday issued a statement that read in part, "The past few months have been difficult on our entire family, as my wife and I decided to separate and divorce. Last evening, there was an unfortunate disagreement between us regarding a family matter" (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/15).

BEHAVIORAL ISSUES: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports Barnaby was "scheduled to appear on-air today but won't." ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz yesterday said, "We continue to look into the situation." Hiestand wonders, "Is ESPN running amok?" Episodes in which ESPN announcers "did something that publicly cost them paychecks, or their jobs, seem disparate." NBA analyst Jalen Rose recently was cited and suspended for suspicion of DUI, while former NFL analyst Sean Salisbury was suspended in '06 after he admitted that he had "publicly shown cellphone photos of his private parts." Other incidents at ESPN "involved people without ties to pro sports." Dana Jacobson was suspended in '08 for "inappropriate language" during a roast, and college football announcer Ron Franklin was "fired this year after unacceptable (off-air) workplace language." Hiestand writes, "It's hard to spot any obvious patterns in this group, whose members might never have even worked with one another." But ESPN announcers "should know that the flip side of being paid to be a public face" is that "your personal problems will be public property" (USA TODAY, 5/16).

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