The afternoon drive duo in Washington, D.C. known as “The Sports Reporters” are silent this week in the wake of a firestorm brewing from remarks that the hosts made on their program the previous week.
On the December 6 edition of the show, hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin had made jarring comments mocking Gabrielle Ludwig, a 50-year-old women’s basketball player who is also a transgender; she had also played college basketball earlier in her life as Robert Ludwig.
The audio excerpt, posted by the gay-oriented sports website Outsports, presents Czaban and Pollin making jokes such as the Austin Powers line, “it’s a man, baby”, and using the pronouns “he/she” and “it” to describe Ludwig.
On Tuesday, the radio station that employs the men, WTEM, known on-air as “ESPN 980,” had suspended them for their remarks, which WTEM parent company Red Zebra Broadcasting believes “crossed the line… Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company.”
The suspension is reported to be for just two days (Tuesday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 12).
In addition, ESPN added their own response, stressing that while the remarks of Czaban, who in the past was a popular personality on Fox Sports Radio, and Pollin are “completely against ESPN’s company culture and values… the two are not employees of ESPN and made the comments on an affiliated radio station that controls its own local content.”
As previously mentioned, “ESPN 980” is run by Red Zebra Broadcasting, which is owned by Daniel Snyder – who also owns a team you might have heard of called the Washington Redskins. WTEM, as well as a handful of suburban FM stations, serve as the Redskins’ flagship network.
Some may view this incident as a bit more serious than an episode from 2004, when Don and Mike, the afternoon drive show on the Redskins’ old flagship, WJFK-FM, uttered the word “bulls***” on the air twice. (WJFK is currently an all-sports station and thus a rival of WTEM.)
If you ask me, even more offensive than what Czaban and Pollin said about Ludwig is that they’re only going to be sidelined for two days, according to the station that gives them three hours a day to voice their opinions on sports.
Earlier this year, Scott Kaplan lost his morning radio gig at “XX 1090” in San Diego after going on a diatribe about a female personality on a regional sports network, the since-folded “The Mtn.”, being a “sasquatch of a woman” and less appealing than “Holly Rowe’s giant butt.” Kaplan has since started hosting a show for a video channel powered by a local newspaper.
Meanwhile, that joker Bruce Jacobs is still on the air in Albany after his nonsensical rant about the WNBA.
As for Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin, well, here’s the website for their show. Let me ask, when was the last time they updated this thing? The first picture you’re greeted with is one of Brooke Hundley, the ESPN producer made famous for her tryst with former ESPN analyst Steve Phillips – some four or five years ago. There’s also a photo of a supermodel with a reference to Terrell Owens, who is no longer active in the NFL. And when you finally get to a video commemorating the “30th anniversary of the Miracle at the Meadowlands,” that tells you that, yes, they have not updated their website since 2008 – or four years.
Yet they’ve managed to set back society forty years with their choice words about a transgender athlete.