In the latter months of 2011, ESPN had seen “Monday Night Football” color analyst Ron Jaworski utter a four-letter profanity, only to be followed a few months later by “College GameDay” personality Lee Corso with a different four-letter profanity.
So, we’re not even a full double-digit number of hours into 2012, and there’s already a “he said WHAT?” controversy on the four-letter network.
It happened at around 9 AM ET, on a program in which Mike Ditka was discussing Indianapolis Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who at that point had led his team to two straight victories after starting the season with an 0-13 record. (Either ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” expanded another hour, or it’s such an important property, that they debuted a new “Sunday NFL Countdown Countdown” program.)
Fortunately (unfortunately?), no video of this exists. And ESPN is better for it. [UPDATE: Yes, it does, thanks to good ol’ Deadspin.] I’m basing Ditka’s statement on a Twitter search. Ditka had been quoted as saying of Orlovsky: “Well, he’s got a good Pollock name.” A tweet in that same hour brought a humorous “happy new year, Coach” wish.
However, toward the end of the hour, Ditka made an on-air apology for his remarks. There is actually video of that. (Apparently, most football fans at 9 AM on Sunday morning were either sleeping off their New Year’s Eve hangover, or watching NFL Network.)
Compare that to the aforementioned Corso, who was shown reading a statement on camera apologizing for getting “excited” and dropping the F-bomb right at the end of “College GameDay”. It was shown coming out of the first commercial break of the college football games that ESPN was airing at 12 Noon ET that day.
And apparently, Ditka missed ESPN’s coverage of the 2010 NFL Draft, which featured another coming-back-from-commercial-break-apology from colleague Matt Millen, after he had referred to the aforementioned Ron Jaworski on the air as, you guessed it, a “pollock.”
If ESPN had a New Year’s resolution of refraining from using un-PC language, it lasted all of nine hours.
As for Mike Ditka, here’s some advice: Stop hanging around Chris Berman!