In an email to USA TODAY reporter Michael McCarthy, ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards confirmed today that ESPN colleague Ron Franklin called her an “a–hole” during a production meeting before the ESPN Chick-fil-A Bowl telecast last Friday.
From USA TODAY:
The trouble started, she said, during a production meeting before Friday’s Chick Fil-A Bowl that was also attended by ESPN announcers Rod Gilmore and Ed Cunningham.
Edwards says she was talking with Gilmore about his wife being elected mayor of Alameda, California. After a few minutes, she said Franklin joined in the conversation and said, “Listen to me sweet baby, let me tell you something . . . ” with a condescending tone.
Edwards says she told Franklin not to address her like that. To which Franklin said, according to Edwards: “OK, then listen to me a-hole.”
She says she told Franklin she didn’t appreciate his attitude — and asked why he was stooping to such levels.
In her email to McCarthy, Edwards also noted that a unnamed colleague reported Franklin’s comments to ESPN management.
As reported here yesterday, after the incident ESPN attempted to replace Franklin for the Chick-fil-A telecast but because of the late notice, was unable to find a replacement. ESPN then removed Franklin from the Fiesta Bowl radio broadcast the next night, with Dave Lamont filling in.
Sunday ESPN Spokesman Josh Krulewitz emailed me the following statement about the situation:
“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.”
From talking to ESPN sources today, I’m getting the indication that Franklin will not be further disciplined by the network.
I’ve been told that ESPN’s attitude about the situation though could change depending on how much negative media coverage Franklin’s comments to Edwards elicit.
Franklin signed a two-year contract with ESPN last July and is scheduled to work Big 12 basketball games on Wednesdays and Saturdays this season.