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Posted at 4:07 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

ESPN fires Ron Franklin over comments to Jeannine Edwards

By Cindy Boren

ESPN has fired Ron Franklin over remarks he made to Jeannine Edwards during a meeting to prepare for a bowl game last Friday.

Franklin called Edwards "sweet baby," and when she raised an objection, called her an expletive. Another colleague who was present reported the incident to ESPN bosses and Franklin was taken off the network's radio coverage of the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday. He had worked for ESPN since 1997, doing mainly college broadcasts.

"Based on what occurred last Friday," ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said, "we have ended our relationship."

MORE

ESPN: Once again, out-of-bounds behavior by the worldwide leader

By Cindy Boren  | January 4, 2011; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  ESPN  
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Comments

Fired?! They FIRED him?! What a bunch of PC BS!! If two men get in an arguement and one calls the other a name, do they get fired?? This is ESPN's loss.

Posted by: VaBroker | January 4, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a matter of the company taking a public step to change its culture, by firing a guy who's not a top-tier guy. And Franklin had a prior incident.

Posted by: Cindy Boren | January 4, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I work for a Fortune 50 company, and if I called a colleague an expletive in front of people, I would be fired on the spot. It just isn't tolerated in our corporate culture. The genders of the people involved really are not relevant. It is about bullying behavior. The sexism is not relevant -- a red herring. The issue is abusive, non-collegial behavior. ESPN made the right call. And the Navy Capt. story hurt Franklin as well. Bad timing to act like a jerk!!

Posted by: conchfc | January 4, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

What gets me is that it wasn't even Jeannine Edwards who reported the incident. Someone else had to butt in. Still, what an idiotic thing to say. Fair or not, everyone knows the rules, and Franklin didn't play by them.

Posted by: redhotCAPSaicin | January 4, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Now the wrestling group needs to fire that little wrestler Jacob Somebody, who lambasted the nation's President and said Mr. Obama isn't bright... This coming from a wrestler. Sorry wrestlers everywhere, but come on!

Posted by: nellie3ster | January 4, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This is absolutely grounds for firing -- particularly since this dope had a previous incident. ESPN has a serious problem. This is one of many documented incidents of overtly misogynistic behavior that has occurred over the past several years there. Their is an abundance of middle aged, bloated neanderthal men working for that network and they need to get rid of them.

Posted by: dbunkr | January 4, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to my Washington Post training, I know that a person doesn't have to be the direct target for harassment to have occurred. A hostile work environment is enough and perhaps that is what the third person who reported this felt.

Posted by: CindyBoren | January 4, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I guess that means they won't be trading Franklin to Fox News for Tucker Carlson and a graveyard-shift news reader to be named later.

Posted by: mattintx | January 4, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Its hard to argue this. This is the second time he has done something like this, and to call Edwards an expletive afterwards is unforgiveable.

Posted by: ams1986 | January 4, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

ESPN has very clear policies on this kind of thing. He broke 'em, and they acted promptly. Nuff said.

Posted by: krickey7 | January 4, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to this dude. Not that I have any illusions that all the public figures I like are saints, but this is just an awful story. Anybody complaining about "political correctness" here just isn't getting it.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | January 4, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

if it had been his first offense he might have just gotten a slap on the wrists. But since this was apparently his second time doing this sort of thing it's not a huge surprise.

The dude's 68. Time to retire somewhere.

Posted by: fedssocr | January 4, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Unless someone has a "repeated" behavioral problems such as bullying, they need to lighten up. Calling someone "sweet baby" or telling them to f--- off can be handled without ruining someone's career.

No one reading this knows what prompted the obvious knee-jerk remark. Maybe she's pushed a lot of buttons because she feels slighted. Either way it's way over the top. I'm tired of the age of the bimbo. You can't blame the guys for being human. Many of these women flaunt their looks to "get ahead" b/c they "have" to and then it's a guys fault for asking them out or now "texting" them.

Jeannine Edwards could have told him to f--- off too and see how he liked it. If the women think they're going to force respect, good luck with that. All the bimbos can just keep to cheer-leading if they're going to constantly whine about nude men leering at them in the men's locker room. No one forced them to go.

I know this is all too primordial but right now as far as I can tell no women football commentator has added much of anything to the sport but they sure are good at taking away from it.

I believe certain women (Susie for one) can achieve a good degree of success as football/sports commentators but right now, this years events have just taken womens respect in sports about 100 steps backwards.

Posted by: tslateone | January 4, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

He called her sweety baby, she said not to so he called her the b word instead. Seems like a justified firing to me.

Posted by: ozpunk | January 4, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

In gentler times, a guy would simply deliver a knuckle sandwich for a rude comment about his wife and put a swift end to it. Cops looked the other way and so did all witnesses because everyone knew they had it coming.

Ever notice it's always old white guys that pay the price for PC violations? Wonder why?

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | January 4, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

HR 101: If a company knows of an incident of harassment, they must act. If a company knows of harassment and doesn't act, they can be fined up to $300,000 (except for CA where there is NO LIMIT).

Posted by: DaveLopan | January 4, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Franklin's career is over, thanks sweeet baby

Posted by: cr10 | January 4, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

maybe he was banging her and forgot they were at work and working a football game...could happen.

Posted by: rjim76 | January 4, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Another applicant for Fox News.

Posted by: areyousaying | January 4, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

"I work for a Fortune 50 company, and if I called a colleague an expletive in front of people, I would be fired on the spot. It just isn't tolerated in our corporate culture."

Nonsense. Just depends on what company you work for, and who you speak to that way.

Someone has to make a decision to actually fire someone like this. It doesn't just happen automatically. In this case it's a simple issue: this guy forgot he was a 65-year-old play-by-play announcer talking to one of his female coworkers. Not the lead singer of AC/DC talking to a groupie on a reunion tour.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | January 4, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I guess that means they won't be trading Franklin to Fox News for Tucker Carlson and a graveyard-shift news reader to be named later.

Posted by: mattintx

...Navy Captain Owen Honors...

Posted by: areyousaying | January 4, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"What gets me is that it wasn't even Jeannine Edwards who reported the incident. Someone else had to butt in."

I don't know about that.
Perhaps he *chose* to "butt in".

Leave your tail hanging in the wind enough times, someones going to come and take advantage of you.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | January 4, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Private companies who want the best employees make the work environment safe and productive for all of their employees. If you can't comply with the high standards of some private companies then you best not apply.

Posted by: 12345leavemealone | January 4, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Ever notice it's always old white guys that pay the price for PC violations? Wonder why?

Posted by: clandestinetomcat
___________________
Maybe because younger non-white guys and women are being heard in the 21st century?? In the past older white guys ruled everything and could offend anyone and everyone regardless of how it impacted women and younger non-whites. Now people don't want to tolerate what they feel is offensive. Women have put up with insults, sexual harassment, and discrimination. Non whites had to put up with racial and ethnic slurs and discrimination. Now these groups are speaking up and no longer wish to tolerate such behavior.

Posted by: 12345leavemealone | January 4, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"I work for a Fortune 50 company, and if I called a colleague an expletive in front of people, I would be fired on the spot. It just isn't tolerated in our corporate culture."

And as a lawyer, I would take that wrongful termination lawsuit on contingency, in a heartbeat, after reviewing the "morals clause" of the employee's contract.
Campanies want to get all Stalinist over PC, fine. But like with Imus and the 10 million dollar payout I got for a black bank executive for being fired for saying a fellow exec had awesome legs ("sexually objectifying her" the firm indignently claimed prior to settling) - PC will come at a steep price.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | January 4, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

About 20 yrs ago we had a rep who put up big numbers but was a caveman, anyway he harassed a women who had rather large shall i say "headlights", he was always making remarks about that particular part of her body finally she hired an attorney made a written diary of everything this man said and took our company to court and won a six figure judgement, our director was fired along with the caveman lesson learned the hard and expensive way.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 4, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

PC claims another victim. Whatever happened to standing up for yourself? Would Jackie Robinson be so inspirational if he'd gone to HR every time someone called him a name, instead of standing up for himself? That is how he earned respect, for himself and all that followed him. Tattletales are shunned, whether in kindergarten or on the job.

If you got the job, you weren't discriminated against. If I'm at ESPN, I'm freezing out Ms. Edwards and all other ESPN women, for fear anything I DO say would lead to my being fired. The only thing that is safe to say is "I can't argue with that" or "I agree with you." Sounds to me Franklin's seven-letter description, while vulgar, was accurate. And BTW, let ESPN pull up Berman or Tirico (both reported as MULTIPLE harrassers), THEN I'll respect them. Management is just being a bully, sacrificing someone low on the totem pole.

Posted by: gbooksdc | January 4, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Very disappointed. It is sports, is it not? Can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen "Sweet Baby."

Posted by: Jsuf | January 4, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I won't defend anyone's use of offensive or sexist language directed at another person in the workplace, but I do seem to recall that, during his campaign, Barack Obama referred to a female reporter as "sweetheart" and that she and most folks in the media (women included) thought it was funny and endearing.

Posted by: jemaddux | January 4, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

This needed to happen, especially with the prior warning. Anyone living in the past who can't work with women will face reprimanding eventually, because that sort of behavior affects the company's image, morale, and ability to hire talented female applicants.

Posted by: sarahabc | January 4, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Is there more to this story than meets the eye? Firing Ron Franklin seems like a huge over reaction. On air he is a professional. His off air comments are far less offensive than the Vizio Rose Bowl commercial of a sexually provocative female aired on ESPN when children would be watching...doesn't it bother any other women to see this inappropriate advertising? ESPN check your commercials. You have a double standard!! Fire a man for what he said (and publicly apologized for) yet air tasteless sexist commercials. It is like talking out of the side of your mouth. What a mamby pamby course of action; firing Mr. Franklin.

Posted by: ladyjhawk | January 4, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, just what the world needed -- another medicore, angry, senile, ugly white man with the brains of a llama spraying his frustrated narcissism at what he considered an easy target -- oh no, never any consequences for you, ko0k.

You're special.


Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | January 4, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I work for a Fortune 50 company, and if I called a colleague an expletive in front of people, I would be fired on the spot. It just isn't tolerated in our corporate culture. The genders of the people involved really are not relevant. It is about bullying behavior. The sexism is not relevant -- a red herring. The issue is abusive, non-collegial behavior. ESPN made the right call. And the Navy Capt. story hurt Franklin as well. Bad timing to act like a jerk!!

Posted by: conchfc | January 4, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I've worked in large corporations most of my adult life. F- bombs are thrown all over the place all of the time. People tear each other apart in meetings, in the hallways, to each other's face, behind their back. Men, women, it doesn't matter. In fact, in my experience, a lot of the women are more abusive than the men. I've yet to see anyone disciplined, reprimanded and certainly not terminated. Maybe I need a larger sample size. I've only been in the workforce for 27 years.

Posted by: randysbailin | January 4, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

This firing is outrageous. I agree with an earlier comment that it's always white men getting fired or reprimanded for this behavior. I know we white folk a'int all that smart but we can't be the only offensive group on earth...??? It seems that Charles Barkley, Jesse Jackson, et al can say anything they want and it gets brushed off as a joke - when a white guy says ANYTHING slightly off base...wham..a firing, media consternation, public apology tour and on and on. Brett Favre gets sued by some bimbo's for text messages that I guarantee those bimbo's got a lot of mileage out of with their friends (narcisism)showing them that a famous person was texting them....now they need cash to pay the bills and they turn around and sue...sue...sue...sue everybody...it's the American way..!

Posted by: IrvFleckman | January 4, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

The sad part of this situation is Ron Franklin will soon realize he has bills to pay and he will conclude (with the help of a media consultant trained in risk management after these types of situations) that he must go public with an apology and act as though he cares that he offended "women all over the world" and now he is enlightened even though he knows in his heart he did nothing wrong...keep watching CNN or MSNBC and you will learn the "Apology Tour" dates coming up....

Posted by: IrvFleckman | January 4, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

tslateone, sounds like you've been rejected by a lot of women in your life...the same women you now refer to as bimbos. Dude, face it, you are a loser.

Posted by: nomorewholefoods | January 4, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

First, I read he said "SWEETCAKES" not sweet baby. That is TOTALLY inappropriate. Pardon me people, but I'm just glad it wasn't a brother!!

Posted by: DC_JOE | January 4, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Ron Franklin is an awsome announcer. To me he was the voice of SEC Saturday night college football games and will be missed. With all of the horrible things going on in the world. Our country falling apart and our people struggling to make it day to day I think that this is a joke. It could have been resolved a different way and handled between two adults and not on the front page of the sports section. As usual ESPN has no class.

Posted by: JKSWright | January 4, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

While I'm sure Franklin has issues he needs to work on, why on earth don't they make him take a sensitivity training class and work on them rather than fire him? I feel that when folks get fired for these offenses, it creates a backlash and nobody learns anything from it. From Jim Campanis who was fired for his comments that African-Americans "lack the necessities" to Rick Sanchez at CNN, Juan Williams at NPR, and now on to Franklin, people get fired and what happens instead of the culture getting changed, the stuff goes underground and resentments fester.

Yes, Franklin deserved to be suspended and/or fined, especially for the epithet he directed at her after she told him she didn't like the language he was using, but can you imagine the impact making a guy like him take a class to learn why this stuff is offensive and then him spreading that new knowledge would have? Instead, everyone digs in their heels when something as extreme as firing happens.

Just my thoughts that we should be creating dialogue with the people that say these things, and teaching them and our culture how to change. I think such an extreme reaction isn't going to change ESPN's culture, just make folks hide it better.

Posted by: preacherskid | January 4, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Hurling expletives at colleagues in the workplace reflects a complete lack of professionalism and merits getting fired from the job.

Posted by: vmunikoti | January 4, 2011 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes they could have given him a class, but really at 68 his behavior is well ingrained in his social tendencies. His philosophy on that ain't gonna change, he would merely comply!! He knew what he was saying and was playing to the other boys in the room!! She called him on it and he took it bad and...DADA..true colors prevailed. All the women out there defending Ron, how would you like to be called "SWEET CAKES" in front of several other men by yourself? What would you have done? Remember she didn't turn him in, the colleague did pursuant to the ESPN abusive action policy stating that the colleague could be fired if they DIDN'T report it and it got back!! CATCH-22!!

Posted by: DC_JOE | January 4, 2011 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Females call males these terms all the time in other workplaces. Wonder if anything's ever happened to them...

Posted by: kmathias22 | January 5, 2011 2:32 AM | Report abuse

To nomorewholefoods: rejected by women?

Actually no, in fact I'm going on 55 and 20 - 70 year old women hit on me at work, at the club, in the hottub, etc so I doubt that, very male. Want to speak with my hot wife?

And keeping to the topic since apparently you lack the most rudimentary intellectual skills I'll explain it in more detail. The bimbo's I was referring to are the NFL bimbos of late media fame or do you read but not comprehend? Bimbo, aka sideline bimbo, aka locker room bimbo, aka Jenn Sterger. Had breast implants, FSU cowgirl, did Maxim, did nude Playboy, then cries foul b/c Farve texted her. I call it like it is, a double standard.

Bother you that there's BIMBO's, ahhh too bad. Are you one too? No, obviously you're a weak effeminate male who has to have society protect them every which way. That's why we have all these laws to protect girls just like you.

Posted by: tslateone | January 5, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

tslateone, sticks and stones...whatever. You're still a loser.

Posted by: nomorewholefoods | January 5, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

"Sweet babey" is not an insult it is a compliment.

Posted by: boyn4884 | January 5, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The PC Police win again. In the 2000s, when someone feigns outrage and the culprit is a white male, the white male usually loses his job. I don't know all the circumstances of this incident--and apparently there are different versions of what happened going around--but to lose your job for uttering the words "sweetheart or sweet cakes or sweet baby" just seems utterly ridiculous. If you are so offended by those words, then you reprimand the guy and tell him he cannot use those words again. You don't fire him.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 5, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

PC claims another victim. Whatever happened to standing up for yourself? Would Jackie Robinson be so inspirational if he'd gone to HR every time someone called him a name, instead of standing up for himself? That is how he earned respect, for himself and all that followed him. Tattletales are shunned, whether in kindergarten or on the job.

If you got the job, you weren't discriminated against. If I'm at ESPN, I'm freezing out Ms. Edwards and all other ESPN women, for fear anything I DO say would lead to my being fired. The only thing that is safe to say is "I can't argue with that" or "I agree with you." Sounds to me Franklin's seven-letter description, while vulgar, was accurate. And BTW, let ESPN pull up Berman or Tirico (both reported as MULTIPLE harrassers), THEN I'll respect them. Management is just being a bully, sacrificing someone low on the totem pole.

Posted by: gbooksdc | January 4, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse


That is by far the most ignorant thing I've ever read. What if that was your mother, your wife, or your sister who was the target of those words? And to invoke the name of Jackie Robinson is insulting, given that discrimination against minorities at that time was not only legal, but encouraged in many places. No one has the right to bully anyone eles. And if someone tries to do it, they will meet severe consequences. It's not PC run amok. It's common sense.

Posted by: stwasm | January 5, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

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