Steelers Sound Operator In Hot Water After Injury Music Choices

Monday, January 19, 2009

If you were watching the end of the Ravens-Steelers game, you saw a scary moment as Willis McGahee lay on the turf motionless following a hit from the Steelers' Ryan Clark. The hit itself was questionable, because Clark's hit was helmet on helmet, but certainly not intentional. Both teams came out on the field in a moment that showed mutual respect for each other, and McGahee, as the running back waited for the cart to take him off the field.

Both teams were very classy and humble in the minutes following the hit, and Steelers' fans were even picked up on CBS' mics wishing him well as he left the stadium. Everyone handled the situation respectfully, except the person who was operating the sound system within the stadium. While most stadiums would have ceased all music during a scary injury, the Heinz Field operator decided to keep the music going. Via PFT....

Specifically, the selections were “Down On The Corner” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and then “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas.

Said the source: “There is a player on the field who may have suffered a life changing injury and the Steelers are playing party music. There are about five teams in the league that would engage in such horrific behavior. All others would cease all entertainment.

“‘Down on the corner’ . . . uh, there’s a man down on the field. About twenty-five to twenty-seven teams would cease all entertainment. Oh, now it’s a Santana song. This is beyond offensive. . . . Most teams would fire them on the spot. It’s disgusting.”
Just disgraceful if you ask me. You can watch the hit on Youtube if you missed it, but I recorded part of the injury where you can clearly hear CCR playing in the background....

I don't think it was mocking the injury in any way, but you really have to have more couth/tact than that. When both teams are on the field looking on, you have to realize the seriousness of the situation and just hit mute. I'm sure the Steelers will address it.

Heinz Field Sound Crew Badly Mishandled McGahee Injury (Pro Football Talk)
Rob Thomas Has The Voice Of An Angel (HG Halftime Report)


Was Linkin Park's "Numb" unavailable?

It's funny because Linkin Park sucks, you see.

Anonymous said...
Jan 19, 2009, 11:57:00 AM  

I agree .. very tasteless.

Steve Smith said...
Jan 19, 2009, 12:05:00 PM  

I didn't think it was a big deal when I watching live. I'd give the sound guy a break... he's not making the big bucks to run the stadium's audio... the fact is, someone should have told him to stop playing music. If anything, he figured he was just supposed to keep filling the air, and would get yelled at for keeping silent. Just my two cents, coming from someone who has worked in a press box with audio guys.

Sudi said...
Jan 19, 2009, 12:08:00 PM  

The real question: who are these "other" 5 teams?

NAG said...
Jan 19, 2009, 12:18:00 PM  

@ Neil: That's what I was wondering myself. It certainly seemed like he was calling out a select few teams, without calling them out.

But yeah, even if he was not told to not play music during serious injuries, I would think that common sense would dictate that you don't say anything, especially when everyone else in the crowd was silent. But then again, as Scott pointed out, he may have felt a need to fill the air. Nonetheless, unexcuseable, especially if there's a chance the man could be paralyzed.

Justin F. said...
Jan 19, 2009, 12:37:00 PM  

To add on, its the responsibility (usually) of a stadium operations "higher-up" to get on his walkie-talkie and say "Hey, please fade the music out" or whatever.

In-game sound is fan entertainment, so I can also see the reason to keep it on because you turn it off, have it be silent... the crowd would become even more worried and scared about what happened on the field. The music would be a way to keep nerves calm. Then again, the choice of songs could be a little different.

Unrelated note regarding in-game, pre-game sound etc... I love it when college athletes or even pro athletes complain about musical selections at arenas/parks... like I said, its for the fans, not the players... if you need certain music to be played from a sound guy to get you hyped for a game, then well, you aren't a very good player.

Sudi said...
Jan 19, 2009, 12:49:00 PM  

@ Neil:

PHI, NE, maybe CLE, CHI, and WSH

Zach said...
Jan 19, 2009, 12:53:00 PM  

Could have been worse, they could have played Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up".

GMoney said...
Jan 19, 2009, 1:27:00 PM  

@ Zach:


Sudi said...
Jan 19, 2009, 1:28:00 PM  

You know, while I was watching I thought to myself that playing party music while a man was down (and 2 men for a short while) was inappropriate. I didn't think about it again until I read this article. Just goes to show you that some people just don't think...I don't think it was intentional, but come on guys, use your heads. (No pun intended)... I'm glad McGaghee is going to be was a scary hit and the moments after were tense...

Cheryl said...
Jan 19, 2009, 2:01:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JamesCraven said...
Jan 19, 2009, 4:53:00 PM  

Even worse. After Troy Bushyhair's touchdown, they played "Rock And Roll Part 2" against orders from the NFL office because Gary Glitter was convicted of being a pediaophile in Vietnam.

Accplications are now being accepted for disc jockey/music coordinator at the Pittsburgh Steelers offices.

JamesCraven said...
Jan 19, 2009, 4:54:00 PM  

Meanwhile, Dennis Green, who was handling the color for WestWood One, referred to the woman who stabilized McGahee's head as a "young lady." A quick web search for female medical personnel working for the Baltimore Ravens suggests that this young lady is 51. Green is 59 for another month.

da HOOK said...
Jan 19, 2009, 5:31:00 PM  

Back in 1996, I was watching the NFC Wild-Card playoff between Atlanta and Green Bay at Lambeau Field, and before the training staff carted off future ABC College Football Halftime panelist Aaron Taylor off the field, I heard 'Hold My Hand' by Hootie and the Blowfish.

Also, whenever there was an injured player during a Calgary Flames game back in the early to mid-1990's, the organist would play various medical TV show themes, such as 'M*A*S*H', 'St. Elsewhere', or 'Doogie Howser, M.D.'

Personally, I never play anything until the crowd starts applauding and sometimes I would play the chorus of 'Touch Of Grey' by The Grateful Dead, or if it's not as severe an injury, 'I'm Alright' by Kenny Loggins.

higgy04 said...
Jan 19, 2009, 10:39:00 PM  

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