Aug. 11, 2014
ESPN Drops Ball...Again
ESPN's recent suspension of anchor Max Kellerman displays both hypocrisy and foolishness from the Worldwide Leader in Sports
Kellerman, left, has been the host of SportsNation since 2013 (Eddie Perlas/ESPN Images)
Written by Jake Elman
I think we may need to start calling ESPN Wes Welker, because the Worldwide Leader has dropped the ball again.
According to the Daily News, ESPN Radio and SportsNation host Max Kellerman for a brief period of time by the network for comments about domestic violence. Of course, these comments stemmed from the Ray Rice domestic violence incident and following suspension.
"ESPN would neither confirm nor deny Kellerman's suspension," the Daily News reported. "In a statement issued Friday afternoon and ESPN spokesman said: "Max Kellerman will return to ESPN-LA Radio and 'SportsNation' on Thursday."
Wait, what? Why?
The Daily News would then add that "industry sources said while the content of his story was disturbing, the suspension was all about Kellerman, who once worked for ESPN New York Radio, not adhering to ESPN brass' warning concerning the Rice topic being a highly sensitive one.
"My understanding is that it was part of a larger conversation ESPN had with all its on-air people," a radio industry source said. "Kellerman obviously didn't pay attention."
While the topic became even more charged after Smith's remarks and suspension, ESPN personalities were warned to measure and consider their commentary as soon as Rice's two game suspension was handed down by commissioner Roger Goodell."
Kellerman, 41, is the host of an ESPN LA radio show and ESPN's SportsNation, both of which are co-hosted with former NFL star Marcellus Wiley. Kellerman is also the lead bo analyst for HBO Sports, a title he has held since 2007. He also, at one time, was a rapper:
Was Kellerman stupid for putting his hands on his wife, who at the time was his girlfriend? Yes (although she's partially wrong too for attacking him first, but that's not the point), and he noted that he's been married for over 20 years now. Personally, if I'm listening him as he says it, I'm thinking "ok, he messed up at one point, he learned a lesson, and he's relaying that to us now." This is good - it shows the growth human beings are capable of and could make some people believe Rice is capable of the same.
So why is ESPN suspending him?
I understand political correctness and how we have to 'respect everyone', but this is dumb. ESPN supposedly wanted their anchors to stop talking about the Ray Rice incident, especially after the aforementioned Michelle Beadle-Stephen A. Smith issue; if that's the case, then why do they dedicate almost a sixth of the SportsCenter slot - so roughly eight minutes in a forty eight minute slot with commercials - to talking about it?
Kellerman is wrong here because they said don't talk about it and he talked about it. But ESPN, a network that spends oh so much time talking about Ray Rice, is just as guilty for putting these heavy restraints on their employees. Doesn't that seem kind of hypocritical?
ESPN is sensitive right now because of Stephen A Smith's comments about domestic violence, and I can understand that. But at the end of the day, we're all human and we all make mistakes. Suspending Kellerman was a mistake, and putting such harsh restraints in - presumably because of Michelle Beadle, ironically Kellerman's co-worker on SportsNation - is a mistake too.
The Ray Rice incident is a thing, we can't duck away from it because of political correctness. In fact, we should be encouraging people like Kellerman, who at one point were either victims or instigators, to speak up and talk about how bad it is and how they've changed.
Isn't this the network that says to embrace debate? What's next, ESPN will suspend people for saying LeBron James going home isn't a big deal?
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