A professor at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania says she felt "violated" by a tweet from ESPN college basketball announcer and radio host Dan Dakich because he used the word "bitching," claiming that he also made a "sexualized" reference.
Dr. Johanna Mellis, a former Division I swimmer and co-host of "The End of Sport Podcast," accused Dakich of "misogynistic and violent" behavior toward her after the two got into a debate on social media Feb. 23 over compensation for college athletes.
At one point in the exchange, which included two other college professors, Dakich questioned whether Mellis and the other profs knew what they were talking about. In response, Mellis challenged him to a swim race.
"Dan you want to play in the 'arena'?" Mellis tweeted. "Let's level the playing field a bit: I used to swim upwards of 10,000 yards in practice sometimes. I've done 10x100s butterfly, 10x400IMs, and one time 10x1000 freestyles for time. It's brutal, but yeah let's go at it in the pool"
Dakich responded with a tweet (since deleted) saying that he would have to get divorced from his wife first and used "bitching" in reference to Mellis' complaints.
"Through his use of the b-word and the way he sexualized my clear reference to racing in the pool, he debased and violated me according to my identity over the public airwaves for all to hear," Mellis told the Indianapolis Star.
"His actions are the perfect example of how critics of exploitation in the sports realm are treated, especially women," she added.
On his WFNI-AM radio show, Dakich dismissed the accusation that he was being "violent" toward Mellis.
"I just said bitching because it's what people do. It's what everybody does, everybody just bitches. But that's sexist apparently because I said bitching and a lady was in the conversation," he said, according to the New York Post.
"And then she wanted to, quote, go at it in the pool. Well, if you go at it in a pool, that's a public place and then I'm gonna have to get divorced, and then it's just gonna be a problem," he added.
ESPN said Sunday it was "looking into" the controversy with Dakich.
This is not the first time the basketball announcer has faced controversy.
In 2019, Dakich was suspended by WFNI for five days for failing to "adhere to journalistic principles," though the station owners did not elaborate on how he had done so.
Dakich's Twitter account appears to have been deactivated since Monday.