Tigers Broadcast Duo Involved In Altercation, Leaving Future In Doubt
Tigers play-by-play voice Mario Impemba and analyst Rod Allen got into a "physical altercation" after signing off following Tigers-White Sox on Tuesday night, an incident that will "likely define -- and could perhaps end -- their run together in the broadcast booth," according to Anthony Fenech of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The two have "shared what can be best described as a contentious relationship" since debuting together in '03. One co-worker said, "I don't think it was a secret." The details of the altercation are "unclear," but Allen's agent, Tom Shaer, "strongly denied reports that Allen put Impemba in a 'choke hold.'" Shaer said, "We have refrained from comment, which is the right thing to do, but these ridiculously, blatantly false descriptions require me to say they are utter fabrications. Nobody followed anybody, there was no contact from behind, and a 'choke hold' is a shamefully untrue way to describe anything that occurred in that brief altercation." FS Detroit after the incident "pulled Impemba and Allen from the air for the series finale" on Wednesday and the two were "replaced by Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson." A FS Detroit spokesperson on Thursday said, "We're addressing an internal matter and will not have any further comment at this time" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/7). Fenech noted FS Detroit on Thursday "continued searching for answers" into the altercation, "conducting meetings" with both Impemba and Allen (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/7). THE ATHLETIC's Katie Strang noted it is "not immediately clear what prompted the incident." Sources said that there has been "simmering tension" between Impemba and Allen (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/6).
SPEAKING OUT: Allen on Thursday night "issued a brief statement" via Twitter, saying, "I've always conducted myself as an honorable professional and I always will. Because this is a personnel matter. I can't comment right now." In Detroit, Kirkland Crawford notes Impemba has "not yet posted anything on social media about the incident" (FREEP.com, 9/7).