Sports Network ESPN has recently suspended one of its anchors after he admitted on a radio program to striking a woman, according to the New York Daily News.
In light of NFL player Ray Rice beating his wife unconscious and only receiving a two-game suspension as punishment, comments and coverage of domestic abuse have been in the spotlight in the sports world.
ESPN-LA Radio anchor, Max Kellerman, co-hosts a show on the station and is the co-host of ESPN TV’s Sports Nation. Kellerman is also the leading analyst for boxing on HBO.
The problem started when Kellerman spoke on the lead-in to his own show on ESPN Radio, Mason & Ireland, last Monday afternoon, three days after Stephen A. Smith was suspended for saying that women should be careful not to “provoke” an incident of abuse.
On the ESPN-LA program, in response to the controversial Ray Rice story, Kellerman recounted a time when he and his then-girlfriend attended a college party and both had too much to drink. When Kellerman tried to get the situation under control, his girlfriend slapped him, and the ESPN anchor said he slapped her back. That girlfriend eventually became his wife, and he claims they’ve been happily married now for over 20 years.
Sources say in the industry that ESPN executives saw Kellerman’s comments as a direct slap in the face — no pun intended — to their directive that the Ray Rice story was highly sensitive. It wasn’t so much the content of Kellerman’s story — though the content was disturbing — it was that he didn’t adhere to their directive.
According to the New York Daily News, a radio industry source said:
“My understanding is that it was part of a larger conversation ESPN had with all its on-air people. Kellerman obviously didn’t pay attention.”
ESPN had warned their on-air personalities to consider and measure carefully any and all commentary on the Ray Rice story as soon as commissioner Roger Goodell handed down his sentence of a two-game suspension for Rice.
Kellerman’s remarks on the ESPN radio program were initially posted on the show’s podcast but subsequently removed.
One of ESPN’s other Sports Nation anchors, Michelle Beadle, called Kellerman out on Twitter after his remarks. Beadle is currently on vacation and has not spoken publicly yet about Kellerman.
ESPN currently hasn’t confirmed or denied the suspension according to Deadline. Instead, ESPN released a statement saying that “Max Kellerman will return to ESPN-LA Radio and Sports Nation on Thursday.”
[Image via Larry Brown Sports]