ESPN’s official statement, via Krulewitz: “The off air videos are now nearly a decade old and do not reflect his typical workplace demeanor, his relationships with co-workers, nor the contributions he has made to ESPN over many years. Chris has a tremendous connection with sports fans and his body of work should not be judged by a few minutes of unguarded language uttered years ago. We aren’t excusing the language used and will be emphasizing to our workforce the importance of using appropriate language in the workplace.”
We’re shocked the folks at ESPN are responding to this publicly. From a PR standpoint, it’s probably the worst thing they could do UNLESS they know there are more videos coming (they probably don’t know, so this is a hedge, no doubt).
If the video well is now empty and ESPN hadn’t acknowledged anything, then no one would’ve care in a few weeks. But much like the Dana Jacobson debacle, ESPN is now giving the videos legs by recognizing them.
It is amusing though that the network is actually trying to whip up a defense for Berman’s off-air conduct. He said what he said on video. There’s no way around it.
We don’t think any less of Berman than before because of the clips. We fully imagined him being like that off-air. We worked in the sports broadcasting biz for 16 years and saw a lot worse.