*UPDATE*: ESPN announced that Tony Kornheiser has been suspended from PTI for two weeks. The statement from ESPN Executive Vice President of Content John Skipper:
“Tony Kornheiser’s comments about Hannah Storm were entirely inappropriate. Hurtful and personal comments such as these are not acceptable and have significant consequences. Tony has been suspended from PTI for two weeks. Hannah is a respected colleague who has been an integral part of the success of our morning SportsCenter.”
Kornheiser’s suspension is in effect for this week and next week.
ESPN this morning announced that Tony Kornheiser has been suspended from PTI for comments he made last week about Hannah Storm.
“As a result of this, I have been sent to sidelines from PTI for a while and when I’m allowed back on PTI, I will happily go back because I love the PTI show and love all the people on the PTI show.
“I’ve said about 1,000 times, while doing radio in my life, the following sentence: if you put a live microphone in front of somebody, eventually, that person will say something wrong. This was one of the times I said something wrong. Beyond that, you can call me and ask me for comment. I’m not going to do it. It seems to me that, without any question, I broke the rules and this is the punishment that’s come.”
Last Friday Kornheiser apologized to Storm for remarks he made about the morning SportsCenter anchor’s clothes. At the time, ESPN Executive VP Norby Williamson said that he was “reviewing” the matter.
Last week Kornheiser said of Storm:
Hannah Storm in a horrifying, horrifying outfit today. She’s got on red go-go boots and a catholic school plaid skirt … way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now.
She’s got on her typically very, very tight shirt. She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body … I know she’s very good, and I’m not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won’t … but Hannah Storm … come on now! Stop! What are you doing?
In my initial post about Kornheiser’s comments, I reported two ESPN staffers saying they didn’t think the PTI would be significantly punished. Turns out they were wrong.
Though Kornheiser did say last Friday on his radio show that he apologized to Storm, he qualified the comment by saying, “it wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time.” Kornheiser’s tone while talking about the issue also wasn’t completely contrite.
This issue is obviously unknown to a good many PTI viewers and wasn’t announced yesterday on the show despite Kornheiser’s absence. (Dan Le Batard filled in.) I would imagine viewers will be filled in when Kornheiser next reappears on the show (likely Thursday), or as soon as today - with ESPN having made the news official.
UPDATE: In response to Deadspin.com’s report that Kornheiser’s suspension may have been due to a joke about Chris Berman’s weight, I’ve confirmed through multiple ESPN sources that the punishment was due only to the comments about Storm.
Also, the contracts of Kornheiser and Storm’s will also be up soon. You wonder if this situation could affect negotiations with the PTI host.
Additionally, I recently reported that Berman may soon be leaving ESPN for Direct TV. ESPN sources have told that the network will make an honest effort to keep Berman, but that Bristol won’t get in a bidding war and break the bank.