Apparently ESPN announcer has a fascination with calling women "sweet."
Reports say the veteran ESPN announcer was yanked from the network's coverage of the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl after referring to a member of his team as "sweetcakes"* and following that up with "a-hole" once she objected.
Scheduled to work on the ESPN-TV broadcast of the Chick-fil-A Bowl Friday, Franklin and [Jeanine] 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.
The website says once ESPN execs confirmed Franklin's comment they tried to pull him from covering the Chick-Fil-A Bowl but no replacement could be found in time. An ESPN representative would not comment on Franklin's status with the company when reached by Yardbarker for comment. However a network spokesperson later issued the following statement:
We made a late play by play change to the fiesta bowl radio team. We’re not going to get into specifics other than to say adhering to our personal conduct policies and showing respect for colleagues are of the utmost importance to our company and we take them extremely seriously.
This isn't the first time Franklin has resorted to calling a female colleague "sweet" something. In 2005, he referred to sideline reporter Holly Rowe as "sweetheart" while scolding her on-air. At the time, ESPN ombudsman called Franklin out for the comment:
On Oct. 1, according to the Chicago Tribune, sideline reporter Holly Rowe lauded Purdue defensive coordinator Brock Spack for using all three timeouts on defense despite trailing by four touchdowns late in the game. “If the coaches are giving up,” Rowe added, “what does that say to the players?” Play-by-play commentator Ron Franklin responded: “Holly, it’s not giving up. It’s 49-21, sweetheart.” Franklin’s comment, and demeaning tone, in response to Rowe’s legitimate observation was disrespectful to the audience and to a colleague. “It was an inappropriate comment, and we’ve communicated that to Ron,” said Mo Davenport, senior coordinating producer for college football. “There’s never a reason to say something so mean-spirited. Ron apologized. We dealt with it internally.”
This controversy comes after another ESPN employee, anchor Will Selva, was disciplined last month for plagiarizing a local reporter's sports column.
Jeanine Edwards, on the receiving end of Franklin's comments, spoke to USA Today this afternoon about the incident. According to her, the term used was actually "sweet baby" and she wasn't the one who reported the incident. SportsGrid reports:
According to Edwards, she was called “sweet baby” by Franklin, not “sweet cakes,” as originally reported. This is largely inconsequential, although it does give us a better idea about Franklin’s preferred method for talking down to women.
One thing that Edwards clarified that matters to the actual story: she says she wasn’t the one to report the incident to ESPN higher-ups. It was a colleague who overheard what Franklin said to her.
Edwards did confirm that Franklin called her an “a**hole.” She then asked him why he would stoop to such a level (something a lot of people are probably wondering right now). That’s when Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher walked in, and the meeting started.