Franklin ‘High Road’ Is Considerably Less Traveled

On Jan. 6, two days after he was fired by ESPN for making obscene, degrading remarks to ESPN colleague Jeannine Edwards - and then failing to apologize for his admitted indiscretion by ESPN request - Ron Franklin wrote in an email to Richard Sandomir of the NEW YORK TIMES, “I just want this thing to end so we can have our lives back.

Ron Franklin's High Road

(Franklin Austin lawsuit same day as ESPN-TX announcement: Coincidence?)

Franklin’s Jan. 6 lament to the newspaper followed a public apology on Jan. 3 - made through ESPN - in which he admitted, “I said some things I shouldn’t have, and I’m sorry. I deserved to be taken off the Fiesta Bowl.” (Franklin never personally apologized to Edwards, which contributed to his firing.)

Yesterday on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, ESPN and Texas school officials announced a groundbreaking partnership that creates a sports network expressly designed to carry Univ. of Texas sports programming.

On the same day, less than a mile away at the Travis County Courthouse, the attorney for Austin resident and former Texas football and basketball announcer Ron Franklin filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against ESPN on the announcer’s behalf.

Franklin’s lawsuit filing subsequently caused at least one outlet, the New York Times, to juxtapose ESPN’s big announcement about the Texas Network right next to the news of Franklin suing the very same sports network.

Ron Franklin story next to ESPN Texas story in NY Times

(NYT: ESPN-Texas announcement next to Franklin-ESPN lawsuit)

It’s common knowledge at ESPN that Franklin had viewed the ESPN-Texas television endeavor as a possible part of his own, personal active retirement. But thanks to his ouster at the network, not even Franklin’s staunchest allies at the Univ. of Texas were willing to jeopardize the $300 million dollar deal by demanding that the former venerable voice of the Longhorns be included on ESPN Texas Network sports broadcasts.

But why would someone who still makes his home in Austin and was the former sports voice of the Univ. of Texas file a lawsuit against ESPN at a courthouse less than a mile away from campus on the exact day the school proudly announced a landmark broadcasting agreement with the same company?

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Ron Franklin Flew To Phoenix To Lobby For Job

After ESPN announcer Ron Franklin called ESPN broadcasting colleague Jeannine Edwardssweet baby” and “a–hole during a verbal exchange before the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta last Friday, ESPN management informed Franklin that he would not be working the Fiesta Bowl radio broadcast in Arizona the next night as previously scheduled. (Edwards, who was not the person to report the incident to ESPN officials, was scheduled to work the Fiesta Bowl as well.)

Ed Cunningham and Ron Franklin

(Franklin with former partner Ed Cunningham)

Surprisingly though, Franklin caught a flight to Phoenix anyway.
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Ron Franklin Fired By ESPN; He Never Apologized

ESPN announced Tuesday afternoon that veteran announcer Ron Franklin has been terminated by the company.

Jeannine Edwards Ron Franklin

ESPN released the following short statement on Franklin’s firing: “Based on what occurred last Friday, we have ended our relationship with him.

As reported here on Sunday, Franklin made insulting comments to ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards last Friday that included calling her an “a–hole” and, as later clarified by Edwards, “sweet baby.” Read more…

Edwards Confirms Franklin Called Her An ‘A–hole’

In an email to USA TODAY reporter Michael McCarthy, ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards confirmed today that ESPN colleague Ron Franklin called her an “a–hole” during a production meeting before the ESPN Chick-fil-A Bowl telecast last Friday.

Jeannine Edwards Ron Franklin

From USA TODAY:

The trouble started, she said, during a production meeting before Friday’s Chick Fil-A Bowl that was also attended by ESPN announcers Rod Gilmore and Ed Cunningham.

Edwards says she was talking with Gilmore about his wife being elected mayor of Alameda, California. After a few minutes, she said Franklin joined in the conversation and said, “Listen to me sweet baby, let me tell you something . . . ” with a condescending tone.

Edwards says she told Franklin not to address her like that. To which Franklin said, according to Edwards: “OK, then listen to me a-hole.”

She says she told Franklin she didn’t appreciate his attitude — and asked why he was stooping to such levels.

In her email to McCarthy, Edwards also noted that a unnamed colleague reported Franklin’s comments to ESPN management. Read more…

Franklin To Female ESPNer: ‘Sweetcakes’, ‘A–hole’

Longtime ESPN announcer Ron Franklin was pulled off ESPN’s Saturday Fiesta Bowl radio broadcast by ESPN executives after an incident involving the veteran broadcaster and ESPN-TV sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards.

Scheduled to work on the ESPN-TV broadcast of the Chick-fil-A Bowl Friday, Franklin and Edwards were part of a production meeting before the game that was also attended by ESPN announcers Ed Cunningham and Rod Gilmore. During the meeting, the subject of Gilmore’s wife Marie being elected Alameda (CA) mayor came up.

As Gilmore, Cunningham and Franklin discussed the subject, Edwards tried to join the conversation.

When she did, Franklin said to her, “Why don’t you leave this to the boys, sweetcakes.”

Edwards responded to Franklin by saying, “don’t call me sweetcakes, I don’t like being talked to like that.

Franklin then said, “okay then, a–hole.

After the meeting Edwards reported Franklin’s comments to ESPN management. Read more…

Gillispie Rehab: End Of (Wrong Side Of) The Road

WKYT-TV reports Tuesday night that Billy Gillispiehas checked himself in the John Lucas After Care Program in Houston, Texas. It’s a substance abuse recovery program that has two treatment centers, a physcial fitness program and an aftercare program with counselors.

Jeannine Edwards Spurned Billy Gillispie's Amorous Advances

(Flashback: ESPNer slammed by Gillispie after spurning his amorous advance)

Not known is how long Gillispie will remain at the rehab facility. We also don’t know the exact reason Gillispie checked himself in, but it isn’t too hard to guess.

The move isn’t exactly unexpected. On August 27th, Gillispie was charged in the early morning hours with DUI for the third time since 1999. Gillispie has since had his right to drive in Kentucky revoked. (He had only been in the state to negotiate a settlement on his terminated contract with UK.)

After just two seasons as UK Coach, Gillispie was fired for producing lackluster results on the court - and most likely also making questionable judgments off it.

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Andrews’ Rock To Ward Off Unwanted Advances?

FANHOUSE ran a video interview with Erin Andrews last week, and lotsa eagle-eyed SbB readers spotted a gaudy monstrosity on her left ring finger:

Erin Andrews Engagement Ring

So I checked with a source who asked EA today if she’s engaged. She replied that she wasn’t and that the ring was “for show.”

Hmmm. I don’t see many eminently eligible young females wearing engagement rings, so you wonder if her job description has anything to do with her rocking the rock? Especially in light of what I reported about another female ESPN reporter last month.

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Did SbB Help Get UK’s Billy Gillispie Fired? Yes

Crazy day in Lex today as we all saw Billy Gillispie (literally) run out of town as Univ. of Kentucky basketball coach. While Gillispie wasn’t exactly extended a realistic opportunity to get his program in place, I don’t think anyone was shocked at the move today.

Billy Gillispie Runs From Reporter

(BCG run out on a rail)

Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart made clear at the firing presser this afternoon that Gillispie’s won-loss record wasn’t the reason he was fired. Instead, Barnhart indicated that the coach’s “chemistry” wasn’t congruent with Kentucky’s basketball tradition.

So just what exactly does that mean? If you read SbB last month, you know what Barnhart was talking about. Read more…

Week In Review: Danica’s Tat MIA From SI Shoot

Danica Patrick’s lower back tattoo: Now you see it, now you don’t.

Danica Patrick with tattoo without

• Speaking of SI, one long-time contributor isn’t a big fan of their latest swimsuit model selections, calling them “creepy” and “alien-ish“. On the other hand, they can sure sell Big Nut Bars.

• Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie tried to get jiggy with ESPN reporter Jeannine Edwards.

• A British beauty has been banned from boxing because of her breast implants.

Read more…

Speed Read: T-Mac Reportedly Out For Season

Last February, the Houston Rockets were crippled - literally - by the season-ending foot injury to center Yao Ming. In what must feel like Groundhog’s Day for the team, this February is also bringing bad news for the team: their other All-Star anchor, Tracy McGrady, told ESPN.COM’s Stephen A. Smith that he needs microfracture surgery on his injured left knee and is done for the season.

Tracy McGrady

Keep mind that this is coming from the mouth of Smith, so take it with a grain of salt (right, Chris Bosh?), and the Rockets aren’t confirming the report. But they sure aren’t denying it either, and with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander telling the HOUSTON CHRONICLE to expect official news on McGrady later this week, it looks highly likely that T-Mac is going on the shelf for a long time.

Tracy McGrady

Alexander also told the paper that McGrady is a “superstar” and that the team has no plans to trade him. Which is probably code for “we really wanted to trade him, but now that he’s damaged goods we’re stuck with him.” How much his absence will impact the Rockets is unclear - he’s either been ineffective or out of the line-up for most of the season to begin with, but losing him can’t help.

The only thing injured on Alex Rodriguez right now is his reputation, which is doing about as well as Jack from Jack in the Box. His press conference at Yankee spring training didn’t help much - I would recommend not using the phrase “I’m here to take my medicine” again any time soon - and might have got his unnamed cousin in trouble.

Alex Rodriguez

Rodriguez claims that his cousin brought something called “boli” from the Dominican Republic, which the USA TODAY says usually refers to the steroids Dianabol or Deca-Durabolin. And now a DEA agent is ominously warning that “those who violate drug laws are always at risk of arrest and prosecution.” We don’t know who this cousin is yet - although BIG LEAGUE STEW has a list of candidates - but I’m guessing we’ll find out soon enough.

In related news, the AP reports that the MLBPA has sent a memo to its players informing them how to respond to questions about the 2003 drug testing. Their recommendation: don’t respond. The memo also goes into detail about little details like why the tests weren’t destroyed, and how the union did not give advance knowledge of tests of players.

Finally, fans who tuned into the Kentucky/Vanderbilt game last night expecting fireworks had to be greatly disappointed. Not in the game itself, but in the lack of a halftime interview between ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards and the man she spurned, Wildcats head coach Billy Gillispie.

ESPN reporter Jeannine Edwards

Alas, no luck last night. As the TENNESSEAN notes, with the game tied at halftime Edwards chose to interview Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings instead of Gillispie, telling the paper “I cut my losses.” This is, of course, the entirely wrong approach, and there should have been a producer in Edwards’ ear demanding she interview Gillispie. Not having her interview Gillispie would be like if Chuck Wepner replaced Muhammad Ali at the last minute for “The Rumble in the Jungle” - totally unacceptable.

What was the most painful/awesome interview in sports TV history?

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