Wishing For Someones Assassination Will Get You Suspended From ESPN Radio (Who Knew?)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I saw this item last week and chalked it up to some dumb Sports Shock Jock just trying to start controversy, but it seems it was just insensitive to get him suspended indefinitely. Pittsburgh's ESPN Radio host Mark Madden made a joke about Ted Kennedy's brain tumor in which he said he was upset because he hope that the Senator "would live long enough to be assassinated." ESPN is having none of it....

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Madden as saying that he had hoped Sen. Edward Kennedy "would live long enough to be assassinated." The Massachusetts Democrat has a malignant brain tumor.

Madden made the remark during his show Wednesday. The show has aired weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. on 1250 ESPN. Madden was last heard on the air Thursday, the day before his comments appeared in the newspaper.

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said the network removed Madden from the air "pursuant to our contractual rights." He said the comment was inappropriate and that ESPN and Madden had apologized to listeners.
Of course that's a horrible thing to say, but ESPN's supsensions and firings always amaze me. Haven't Sports Radio hosts around the Country said much more hurtful and controversial things than this? I'm not condoning the comment in the least, but it seems that ESPN bases their suspensions solely on the backlash and press the comments receive rather than creating a standard of behavior and sticking to it.

Pittsburgh-area radio host removed after Kennedy remark (AZ Central)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 10:57 AM

18 Comments:

I'm too lazy to send an actual email and I'm sure people have already mentioned this, but if you can find a clip of Erin Andrews reporting on site from Wrigley during (I think) the 6pm Sportscenter, it's worth a look. I may be misquoting slightly, but I think her comment was along the lines of "It's [Fukudome's] bobblehead night, and players usually get off on their bobblehead nights." There was even some giggling afterwards. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...
May 28, 2008, 11:20:00 AM  

People have said worse things than "live long enough to be assassinated"?

GMoney said...
May 28, 2008, 11:28:00 AM  

It's not like Ted killed anybody or anything.

Wonder if he would have said that about Bush or Arlen Specter, what would have happened then. Teddy is a liberal demigod.

And Da Burgh is overwhelmingly Democrat.

hollywood wags said...
May 28, 2008, 11:39:00 AM  

This has nothing to do with Pittsburgh being democrat or republican city, especially since the firing came down from Bristol.

I live outside of Pittsburgh, and have heard Mark madden for a long time. This is just the latest in a laundry list of things which probably should have gotten him suspended, if not fired in the past. The Kennedy thing was kind of like the straw that broke the camel's back.

He used to have his own syndicated show on ESPN national on Sunday mornings, but that was taken away because of stuff like this, I'd say, three years ago.

Matt Maisel said...
May 28, 2008, 11:42:00 AM  

Matt is 100% right on this; Da Burgh's political leanings have jack shit to do with this. Madden is a tool, always has been a tool, and always will be a tool. I'm just surprised he lasted this long.

Bruce said...
May 28, 2008, 11:56:00 AM  

Madden has long had a reputation for saying anything for ratings. Any well-loved sports personality who wasn't connected with the Penguins would be targeted for character assassination by Madden. (The Pens were beyond reproach in his eyes.) Hines Ward is just the latest whipping boy on a list that includes Arnold Palmer, Jim Leyland, Jerome Bettis, and Myron Cope. He's also been called out for some incredibly misogynistic crap that has spewed from his mouth over the years.

Bristol clamped down on him back in January, and told him he was on strike two. This Ted Kennedy crap was strike three.

May 28, 2008, 11:57:00 AM  

You imply that there's a double standard at ESPN, but you say "Haven't Sports Radio hosts around the Country said much more hurtful and controversial things than this?" That would imply that you want ESPN to conform its own policies to the policies of other media outlets around the country. If you have examples of ESPN not disciplining one of their people who said something like this, that would be good evidence of what you are saying. As it is currently written, your argument comes off as weak.

I really enjoy your site a lot, but I think sometimes your anti-ESPN sentiments either cloud your judgment or affect your ability to rationally criticize them.

Jeff J. Snider said...
May 28, 2008, 11:57:00 AM  

Like everyone is saying Jeff, Madden has gotten away with stuff like this for years and he's just now getting fired. How about all of the sexual harassments before the Reynolds firing? How about Colin Cowherd calling for listeners to crash a website?

I'm not saying it's an easy thing to police, but there's an obvious inconsistency there. If you don't see it than I don't know what to tell you.

May 28, 2008, 12:02:00 PM  

Gotta disagree here. Calling for the assassination of a sitting US Senator, particularly one just diagnosed with brain cancer...yeah, you can suspend Madden for that one without too much controversy, yeah.

Jim said...
May 28, 2008, 12:31:00 PM  

Madden has a long history of similar, equally unfunny commentary. However, as the ratings have been very good, it's been mostly overlooked by management.

I'm guessing that this particular comment must have caught the attention of someone up the food chain in Bristol who is a supporter and/or friend of Kennedy. Otherwise, it appeared as though station management would have let this one slide as well.

Good riddance to a gigantic douche.

The412 said...
May 28, 2008, 12:34:00 PM  

As a guy who works in radio, there's the rule about controversial statements and then there's the enforcement. And when it comes to enforcement, management usually takes a "It's not a crime until somebody screams" approach.

Shaggy said...
May 28, 2008, 1:29:00 PM  

Looks like Madden hasn't forgotten his announcing days with WCW. What an idiot.

Mike said...
May 28, 2008, 1:54:00 PM  

I haven't listened to Madden in years, but I loved him when I did. He's hilarious and (at least when he talks about hockey) insightful. Pittsburgh sports radio listeners love him or love to hate him. As a result, he was a ratings powerhouse.

The inconsistency here is mind-boggling. Where's Dana Jacobsen's pink slip? Did Madden talk about hockey too much? Is that it?

Madden will show up somewhere, if he wants to. And people will listen.

matsrkalc said...
May 28, 2008, 4:17:00 PM  

Although, this guy seems like a tool. I found his comments to be darkly humorous.

Nathan said...
May 28, 2008, 5:02:00 PM  

I'm not saying there's not an inconsistency, AA. I was just saying that you weren't actually giving any evidence of an inconsistency. The only evidence you gave was that lots of people say bad stuff and don't get fired for it, which isn't specific to ESPN at all. So to someone who ISN'T familiar with all the inconsistencies you allude to, it comes across as a false argument.

Jeff J. Snider said...
May 28, 2008, 5:25:00 PM  

Disagree with their politics all you want, but to wish someone be assassinated (even worse as they lie dying with cancer) should have you fired.

Now if we can get that fox news announcer who wants Obama killed fired we'll be on our way.

Anonymous said...
May 28, 2008, 8:03:00 PM  

When it first happened, the ESPN 1250 management gave him a pass and said the apology was acceptable. But then the rest of the Pittsburgh media, led by Post-Gazette columnist Bob Smizik, picked up their torches and pressured the station into the suspension.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08144/884238-13.stm

Mark Madden's mouth did not get Mark Madden suspended, newspapers got Mark Madden suspended

Dane said...
May 29, 2008, 8:52:00 AM  

dane, your logic overlooks the fact that Madden's mouth and track-record got him in hot water in the first place. Bristol put on the pressure rather than the Pittsburgh affiliate that knows how much ratings he brought in for that mouth.

Anonymous said...
May 29, 2008, 4:08:00 PM  

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