Former NFLers Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin both made national news last week after one was arrested for domestic battery and the other was sued for alleged rape.
A couple of class acts no doubt, but would you expect anything less from two University of Miami products? After all, “The U” is a breeding ground for upstanding citizens who go on to achieve great things in our society.
Both Sapp and Irvin are currently employed by the NFL Network, but the league’s all-football channel may not be dancing with these stars much longer.
The news on E! and TMZ isn’t targeting Britney Spears or Hollywood gossip these days, but instead the lives of sports celebrities. Every accredited member of professional sports must have a tight tongue, and personal life, to avoid crucifixion by the mainstream media.
Sapp and Irvin are only the latest additions to a lengthy list of talking boneheads that found themselves unemployed for stupidity or lewd behavior.
Jimmy The Greek
January 16, 1988: Jimmy Snyder, better known as Jimmy the Greek, was fired by CBS after a 12-year stint on the network as an analyst following a racial comment he made to a reporter.
The Greek is credited with weaving sports gambling into the public eye, relinquishing the industry from the illegal, underground stigma it was commonly associated with. But the comments Jimmy made in a Washington D.C. restaurant gave him a black eye.
“The black is a better athlete to begin with because he's been bred to be that way,” he said. “This goes back all the way to the Civil War when the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.”
And as we all know, racial slanders – particularly ones that mention the word slavery – are the cardinal sin of commentating.
September 25, 1997: Marv Albert pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery charges and after more than 20 years of service as a sports announcer, was dismissed by NBC.
Albert’s criminal record came to fruition after a longtime lover made public that Albert had taken her to the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Virginia, thrown her onto the bed, sunk his teeth into her 15 times, sodomized her and then forced her to perform oral sex – all while supposedly wearing white panties and a garter belt.
Now that is as kinky and disturbing as it gets. Almost sounds like a David Carradine type of fetish minus the asphyxiation.
Despite the revelation of Albert’s dark and embarrassing secret side, NBC rehired the broadcaster two years later. I guess the moral standards bar at NBC is only crotch-high.
October 1, 2003: Radio host Rush Limbaugh “resigned” from his position on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown after making racially-charged comments about quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Limbaugh stepped down after suggesting that McNabb had found undeserved success because he was the best black quarterback in the league.
"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,'' he said. "There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve."
Limbaugh continues to test his 300-pound frame on the thin ice of racial commentary, producing and airing the politically satirical song, “Barack the Magic Negro.”
September 4, 2005: Former All-American Trev Alberts was canned by ESPN for the oldest reason in the book – not showing up for work.
Alberts didn’t have a Monday morning hangover nor did his alarm clock fail to go off. He simply didn’t step into his Bristol office that day because he felt that he wasn’t getting enough love.
“No matter what business you're in, if you're not respected internally, you're going to have a hard time being respected externally,” he said.
Many peers said that Alberts was bitter because he was not asked to join the College Gameday crew. The prima donna admitted that he wasn’t going to play “second-fiddle” to anyone.
Alberts must feel pretty high and mighty now as the athletics director at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. How are the Mavericks doing these days anyway?
March 9, 2006: ESPNEWS anchor Danyelle Sargent dropped the F-bomb on national television after having technical difficulties during her segment. Coincidentally, the sports conglomerate did not ask her to return the next season.
As Sargent’s taped segment was being played, she said, “What the fuck was that?” over the broadcast thinking that her microphone had been cut.
Sargent should have just used the cyber acronym that has entered into the English language – WTF – and all of this could have been avoided.
Another precarious situation that Ms. Sargent Slaughter got into came during a San Francisco 49ers game. Serving as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports, Sargent asked newly-appointed head coach Mike Singletary if one of the first phone calls he made after getting the job went to his mentor, Bill Walsh.
Unfortunately, the legendary Walsh had been deceased for more than a year.
Hey Danyelle, I’m going to a Jimi Hendrix concert this weekend, care to join me?
July 24, 2006: Baseball Tonight analyst Harold Reynolds was asked to collect his belongings after an ESPN employee accused him of sexual harassment.
“It was a total misunderstanding,” Reynolds said. “To be honest with you, I gave a woman a hug and I felt like it was misinterpreted.”
We all know how a hug can turn into a meat press, grinding two bodies against each other, but it’s hard to imagine Ha-Ro doing anything crude. Reynolds always came off on television as a kind face with a gentle voice.
The former Seattle Mariner settled a lawsuit with ESPN in April of 2008 to the tune of seven figures. Perhaps Reynolds really didn’t do anything wrong?
October 13, 2006: Friday the 13th will always have a frightening aura for baseball commentator Steve “Psycho” Lyons. He got dropped by Fox Sports on that day after making a racially insensitive comment during Game 3 of the ALCS.
Lou Piniella was a member of the three-man broadcasting crew for that game and Lyons quipped about the coach’s Spanish lineage.
Piniella was talking about the luck some players have on the field and compared it to finding a wallet on the street. He also used a couple of Spanish phrases and Lyons remarked that Piniella was “hablaing Espanol” and then said, “I still can’t find my wallet.”
Lyons, notorious for subconsciously dropping his pants after sliding into first base during a game, wasn’t ever shy about making cultural comments on air.
He was suspended without pay for two weeks by FOX after blasting outfielder Shawn Green when he elected to skip a game because of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.
“He’s not even a practicing Jew. He didn’t marry a Jewish girl,” Lyons said. “And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, which is unfortunate because he doesn’t get the money.”
February 26, 2008: The contract of Sean Salisbury was not renewed on this date by ESPN but the reasoning why the 12-year NFL analyst was not asked to return is the juicy stuff.
The former Minnesota Viking sent a picture text of his private region to female employees at ESPN. Salisbury called the incident, which was construed in a Connecticut bar, a “sophomoric mistake.”
No Sean, a sophomore would have forgotten his homework or had trouble with the bra clasp. A 45-year-old man should not be taking pictures of his cock and balls and sending them out in a mass text to women.
Does anyone really even miss Salisbury Steak? He was a better-than-average analyst but always came off too abrasive for my liking. I was always scared that if I didn’t gobble up what he was feeding, he would come kick my ass like he did John Clayton.
May 22, 2008: Another ESPN casualty is added to the list after one of its radio affiliates axed host Mark Madden.
The Pittsburgh-based station, ESPN Radio 1250, endured a political upheaval of seismic proportions after Madden made a Kennedy remark.
"I'm very disappointed to hear Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor,” he said. “I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated. And I wonder if he will receive a get well card from the Kopechne family."
You know how when someone makes a joke about a person’s death and asks, “Too soon?” Well Mr. Madden, it’s much too soon when the guy hadn’t even passed.
October 25, 2009: Analyst and Sunday Night Baseball announcer Steve Phillips was handed his walking papers minutes before Game 6 of the ALCS after it came to the attention of ESPN he had been involved in an affair with a 22-year-old production assistant.
Shortly after his termination, Phillips would enter into the same sex addiction rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi where Tiger Woods was a patient.
These facilities are such copouts. Every man in the world is addicted to sex!
"I couldn't stop myself from doing the things that I was doing, even though I knew the consequences," Phillips said after the 45-day vacation.
Any man with a pulse has trouble stopping himself from watching internet porn even though we all know the consequence will be a Trojan virus that eventually destroys the computer.
February 4, 2010: Football personality Michael Irvin is shown the door by ESPN Radio 103.3 after a woman filed a civil suit for rape in 2007.
Why is Michael Irvin the only ex-Cowboy in the entertainment industry that is a perennial F-up? Troy Aikman, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Deion Sanders have all done well for themselves, and stayed out of trouble.
In March of 1996, Irvin pled no contest to felony charges of cocaine possession after being caught with mirrors and strippers at his 30th birthday party.
One year after retiring from the NFL, Irvin and a woman were arrested when DEA agents found illegal drugs in a hotel room they were staying in. The charges for this incident were somehow dropped. Irvin was arrested for a third time in November of 2005 when he was pulled over for speeding and cops found weed and a glass pipe in his car.
If he is found guilty of this latest transgression, how many more chances can society give this guy?
February 6, 2010: The NFL Network’s Warren Sapp is arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor domestic battery stemming from an altercation with a woman at the Shore Club hotel in Miami.
Sapp was scheduled to serve as an analyst on the network’s Super Bowl crew but was told on Sunday morning that he would not be included in the coverage. The NFL Network has indefinitely suspended Sapp until further investigation.
Apparently Fat Sapp couldn’t keep himself away from gorging at all the South Beach parties. The woman accused the former defensive lineman of choking her and pushing her down.
Police reported that the woman had bruises on her knee and neck. Sapp was released from Miami-Dade county jail at 5 a.m. on Sunday after posting a $1500 bond.
Sapp is a less-annoying version of Charles Barkley. Has some good thoughts but comes off unintelligent. We can probably do without this extra large suit clogging up the airwaves.
As evidenced, the spectrum of stupidity and immoral behavior has no boundaries. We can only hope that the next generation of talking heads will learn from the mistakes of its predecessors.