10 Hall of Shame Attempts at Humor by Sportscasters
Comedy is a challenging task, as evidenced by the numerous comedy professionals who are seemingly losing their grip on reality. Add to that the degree of difficulty of simultaneously commenting on live sports, and you end up with a recipe for disaster.
Craig Kilborn, Joe Buck and Bill Simmons’ attempts at late-night comedy careers should have hammered home the point to sports personalities to leave the jokes to the actual comedians. But just like Charlie Brown hearing the siren’s call of Lucy’s football, they can’t resist one more attempt before inevitably putting their foot in their mouth while sticking their head up their ass at the same time.
Because there’s no greater sin in live broadcasting than dead air — even if it means saying something as stupid and awkward as...
Former NFL tight end/long snapper Kinchen allowed a personal anecdote about teaching his kids how to catch a ball to get super weird, super fast: “You can’t use your shoulder to catch a football. You’ve got to get your hands out there. Every night when I’m out with my kids working on catching the football, they want to use their body. It’s just a natural instinct as a human being, but you’ve got to learn to put the ball in your hands. Your hands are what make it possible. Your shoulder pads are hard, stiff. Your hands are (creepily softer voice) tender and can move and caress the ball... That’s kind of gay, but hey, it’s close.”
There was a four-second pause before the other commentator chimed in with, “Fourth down and nine—.”
As a bonus, Kinchen’s father was former LSU player Gaynell Kinchen, so you think he’d have some basic empathy regarding using “gay” as an insult.
Washington Wizards announcer Consor made the following comment about Houston Rockets forward Kevin Porter Jr.’s game-winning shot, mistakenly thinking he was the son of former Washington Bullets player Kevin Porter: “What a well-designed play, and you got to give credit — Kevin Porter Jr., like his dad, pulled that trigger right at the right time. Boy, that one stung.”
No harm, no foul, right? Except for the part where Porter Jr.’s real father, Bryan Kevin Porter Sr., was tragically shot and murdered while heroically trying to help someone being assaulted.
In 2008, shock jock Madden got fired for injecting this bit of “hilarious” political commentary while on ESPN Radio 1250: “I’m very disappointed to hear that Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated. I wonder if he got a card from the Kopechnes.”
In late 2019, NHL analyst Roenick went on Barstool Sports’ Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, where he joked about having a theoretical threesome with his wife and a co-worker while on vacation in Portugal.
NBC first suspended Roenick for his inappropriate comments, later firing him from the network. Roenick then filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming discrimination for being a straight man. His evidence? A segment NBC aired during the Winter Olympics where Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins, playing their characters from Pitch Perfect, made inappropriate comments with commentators Tara Lipinksi and Johnny Weir. The presiding judge’s response: “Simply put, neither Lipinski nor Weir joked about having sex with a co-worker. Roenick did. Whether these two incidents were ‘of comparable seriousness’ is not even close.”
James ‘2GD’ Harding
One of the struggles with airing esports is finding commentators who have played the sport well enough to provide insight for viewers but who have also touched enough grass to use basic restraint when speaking into a broadcast mic instead of a gaming headset. James “2GD” Harding failed on the latter count.
When Harding was tapped to host the Dota 2 Shanghai Major live stream, he proceeded to spout off-color color commentary, including joking that his “pre-show ritual” (i.e., masturbating) was difficult to perform because the hotel had disabled pornography, and him calling a player a “bottom bitch.” This all led to Harding getting fired in the middle of the event.
During a discussion about the gender pay gap, WFFA Dallas sportscaster Hansen made the following joke: “If you have a woman — like a co-anchor or a news director or a station manager — I think it’s a fantastic day because they work cheaper so that leaves more money for you and me.”
It fell completely flat, with Hansen penning a heartfelt apology.
There are not enough Terrible Towels to wipe up the racism dripping off of Bradshaw’s commentary on this Reggie Bush play: “Open up, hand it to Reggie, bounce outside, cut back inside... Look at this, Jimmy! Like he was chasing that bucket of chicken that the wind was blowing the other day.”
As a concept, it made sense. ABC wanted to shake things up in the Monday Night Football announcers’ booth, bringing in a comedian to keep the conversation lively and appeal to a younger demographic. Except their choice was Dennis Miller...
Al Michaels deserved a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Not Dropkicking Your Co-Host Out of the Broadcast Booth.
Not that Michaels gets off easy here either. For some reason, he decided that a struggling New York Giants team provided the perfect opportunity to try out his Harvey Weinstein open-mic material.
In terms of idiotic output, Lyons hit for juiced-up Bondsian-like numbers. In 2004, FOX Sports suspended him without pay after making this on-air “joke” about Jewish player Shawn Green sitting out a game to observe Yom Kippur: “He’s not even a practicing Jew. He didn’t marry a Jewish girl. And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, which is unfortunate, because he doesn’t get the money.”
He followed that up with a 2006 Angels-Yankees game, where he quipped that Yankees Italian American catcher Sal Fasano was “the type of guy ‘who knows a guy that knows a guy.’”
That same year, during the Mets and Dodgers National League Division Series, Lyons began making fun of an elderly fan wearing a visual aid by saying, “He’s got a digital camera stuck to his face.” It turned out to be a magnifying device called a JORDY, used by the visually impaired.
Later in the playoffs, while covering Game Three of the American League Championship Series, Lyons’ colleague Lou Piniella used an analogy about finding a lost wallet and briefly spoke in Spanish. Lyons said that Piniella was “hablaing Español,” continuing with, “I still can’t find my wallet. I don’t understand him, and I don’t want to sit close to him now.”
After finally hitting for the bigoted cycle, FOX Sports fired Lyons.