Ron Franklin got himself in hot water Friday for being rude to female colleague Jeannine Edwards. After being suspended from calling the the Fiesta Bowl on the radio, the sportscaster issued an apology, but his bosses weren’t feeling too forgiving. On Tuesday, ESPN announced that they had fired Franklin.
“Based on what occurred last Friday, we have ended our relationship with him,” said ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz.
While Franklin was out of line – you can read a play-by-play of the conversation here – firing him over this single incident seems harsh. It makes us wonder if Franklin had a pattern of sexist behavior, and ESPN had finally had enough.
The NY Times made note of a similar incident when Franklin mouthed off to a female colleague on-air:
During a Notre Dame-Purdue game in 2005, the sideline reporter Holly Rowe lauded Purdue’s defensive strategy despite Notre Dame’s big lead.
“If the coaches are giving up, what does that say to the players?” Rowe said.
Franklin said, “Holly, it’s not giving up, it’s 49-21, sweetheart.”
At the time, ESPN’s ombudsman, George Solomon, called Franklin’s tone “demeaning” and “disrespectful to the audience and to a colleague.” An ESPN senior coordinating producer, Mo Davenport, said, “There’s never a reason to say something so mean-spirited.”
ESPN has a long history of sexual harassment, and Franklin’s firing may be an attempt by the network to both improve public image and send a message to employees that such behavior is no longer acceptable.