ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit Appears On Mike Francesa's Show, And People Are Baffled

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit was a surprise guest of Mike Francesa, who has long complained about a ban ESPN has imposed against his show, and WFAN, in general. (Photo credit: Keri Potts, ESPN public relations.)

You may recall over the summer, WFAN’s afternoon schmoozer Mike Francesa had gone public about an apparent ban that ESPN has against the station.

“They are steadfast about it,” Francesa was quoted as saying, regarding all ESPN talent not being allowed to appear on any WFAN programming – even “close friends” of Francesa, such as Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen, both of whom are ESPN/ABC NBA analysts. “They are forbidden from being on my show. That’s how far ESPN has taken it.”

Either someone at the Worldwide Leader was off their meds on Friday, or the Mayans might just be right about the impending apocalypse, because the first guest on Francesa’s program on the eve of the 2012 Heisman Trophy awards was none other than Kirk Herbstreit.

As in ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

Who was promoting the telecast of the 78th presentation of the Heisman Trophy this Saturday night on ESPN.

The Heisman Trophy presentation that Francesa apparently forgot to case his vote for.

But indeed, it happened: Francesa and Herbstreit talked Manti and Manziel for a good half-hour – and there’s audio evidence of it, as well as the photo you see on the top of the page.

Anyway, as you can expect, people on Twitter who are no doubt aware of ESPN’s edict against WFAN – and Francesa, in general – were shocked that ESPN’s top college football guy was on the top-rated sports radio program in New York.

Since there’s still a full day before the Heisman Trophy ceremony, I wonder if Kirk Herbstreit is going to find the time to appear on any of WFAN’s sister sports stations across the country – like 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, which recently hired one Scott Torgerson.

Now, that would be awkward.

Not as awkward as hearing an ESPN employee on WFAN’s airwaves, but awkward, nonetheless.

Torg: Herbstreit Was "Pretty Harsh" On Me

Scott Torgerson told John Corby (pictured) on Columbus radio station WTVN that he apologized to ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit about a week before he finally heard Herbie’s diatribe against him. He also insisted that he volunteered to be suspended from “97.1 The Fan.”

Recently unemployed Columbus sports radio host Scott Torgerson revealed that he had apologized to ESPN “College GameDay” analyst Kirk Herbstreit after unloading on “The Torg” on his weekly radio program on WBNS-FM/”97.1 The Fan”, following the infamous “I wish Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch Gameday again” tweet – a tweet that led to a suspension and ensuing termination of Torgerson from his own show on “97.1 The Fan.”

“I actually talked to him on the phone… the Wednesday while I was suspended, and apologized to him for putting him in that situation.”

Considering how Herbie’s Torg rant went viral by that Wednesday, it would show what great character Torg has, saying sorry to Herbie knowing he ripped him to shreds on the radio station his top-rated afternoon drive show used to be heard on.

As it turns out, Torgerson was practically the last person in Columbus to find out about it.

“I didn’t hear it at the time,” Torgerson admitted Friday on John Corby’s own afternoon drive program on WTVN-AM 610. “I actually just heard it a few days ago… After listening to it, wow, it was pretty harsh.

“Then I looked at his Twitter feed, and he kinda was going at me a little bit… And then he did some TV interviews on Tuesday, where he went at me some more. But you know what? I don’t have any ill will. He can decide to do whatever he wants, if he decides to take that road, you know, it’s not a road that I would take, but remember, I did it, and I own up to it, and whatever he did, he has to deal with it.”

Corby suspected WBNS-FM’s affiliation with ESPN, the network that employs Herbstreit, did Torgerson in. “Maybe,” Torgerson said. “I don’t really have any proof of it… I don’t want to accuse anyone of doing anything, because I really don’t have the proof.

“I could tell you ‘I guess,’ but I don’t want to goof up my suit, if it comes to that,” he added, regarding a potential lawsuit he has intentions of filing against the station and its owner, Dispatch Media Group. But 48 hours after he wrote on his website that that was the direction he was going to go, he didn’t sound very committed about taking legal action to Corby. “I don’t know if we’re going to,” he said. “Obviously, there’s a process to this… If it drags out long enough, I guess we’ll find out.”

Also in his first local media interview since his dismissal from “97.1 The Fan,” Torgerson explained how, while “running errands” the day he posted a tweet that he thought was “sarcastic,” he came to the conclusion that, “Boy, that was a dumb thing to tweet.” He also disclosed how the Monday after his Twitter trouble, he “proposed” to station management that he be suspended for a week, “and it kinda took off from there.”

Corby asked Torgerson how his employment status at “The Fan” had gone “from suspended to fired.” Torgerson said that he was assured by “some management” that his job was safe with the station, and was told to “hang tight” for the duration of his suspension. “You just kinda hear more and more things,” Torgerson said, recalling his anxiety late last week. “The more time went by, and the more no one would give me an update, I knew I was a goner.”

After Torgerson finished the interview, Corby expressed his suspicion that the Worldwide Leader did indeed have a hand in Torgerson’s termination.

“It’s hard for me to believe,” Corby told his listeners, “that Herbstreit and ESPN weren’t somehow involved in this, because ESPN, all they had to do was say, ‘Hey, you’re no longer an affiliate.’ Then, what do they do? Most of their programming is ESPN… And we’ve got Fox [Sports Radio] on [our sister station], so that’s not available. You’d be pretty much screwed.”

Apparently, Corby is unaware of the two new sports radio networks that have launched over the last couple of months. Supposing “97.1 The Fan” stood by The Torg and kept him on the payroll, while the station may have indeed risked losing the ESPN Radio affiliation – remember, it was a talent on an ESPN Radio affiliate taking an unwarranted swipe at an ESPN network talent – they may have considered signing up with either NBC Sports Radio Network or the CBS Sports Radio Network, which officially launches its 24/7 schedule on January 2.

But would it have been worth risking your affiliation with former Ohio State Buckeye Kirk Herbstreit? Probably not.

Listen to the John Corby interview with Scott Torgerson here.

Kirk Herbstreit Called For "Interference" In Scott Torgerson Termination

Columbus sports radio host Scott Torgerson, previously suspended by 97.1 The Fan for a controversial tweet directed at ESPN’s Desmond Howard, was let go by the station on Wednesday. He is seeking legal action against the station for unlawful termination. (Pictured: Torgerson and his three children; photo credit: Torgerson.)

Last week, the sports media stratosphere outside of Columbus, Ohio was introduced to Scott Torgerson, one half of the afternoon drive show “The Common Man And The Torg” on WBNS-FM/”97.1 The Fan.”

Or at least he was up until October 12. The very next day, while watching ESPN’s “College GameDay,” his ire for a certain Michigan alumnus who is part of the show’s crew went to new heights.

“I wish Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again,” was what “The Torg” had tweeted, then apologized for, before deleting his entire Twitter account altogether. The following Monday would start what would be an indefinite suspension; that same Monday, “College GameDay” analyst Kirk Herbstreit used his weekly platform on “97.1 The Fan” – a one-hour college football talk show on Monday afternoon – to take Torgerson to task for his “sickening” and “asinine” tweet directed at his friend and colleague, Desmond Howard. (The full transcript of Herbstreit’s rant as well as previous Torg tweets on Howard can be found in the original post, here.)

It was on Wednesday – eleven days after Torgerson’s Twitter trouble – that “97.1 The Fan” announced, conveniently, via Twitter (it was posted on the station’s Facebook page, as well, albeit earlier in the day) that “The Torg” would no longer be heard on their air. “Scott Torgerson is no longer employed by our company (Dispatch Media Group) as of today,” read the tweet. “We appreciate his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

I’m sure if “The Fan” were allowed more than 140 characters, that would probably read: “We appreciate his contributions – well, all except that last one – and wish him well.”

And not a moment too soon, we once again hear from “The Torg” – no, not on the air 100 miles northeast of Cincinnati, but in an exclusive interview with The Lantern, the Ohio State University newspaper.

He says that he’s appointed a good friend of his, local defense attorney W. Joseph Edwards, to consider taking legal action against WBNS-FM and Dispatch Media Group, insisting that Torgerson’s termination was “unlawful.”

(Probably more “lawful” than suggesting Desmond Howard ought to drop dead in the first place. Or even what Erin Andrews went through on Twitter earlier this week. But I digress.)

We also learn details about what went on behind the scenes between Torgerson and Dispatch Media Group. When asked to choose between quitting with severance and a vow not to discuss the situation or sue the company, or being fired with no severance at all, “I showed up Monday for our meeting and told them I want to go back on the air; they told me that wasn’t an option.”

Two days later, “The Torg” was pink-slipped.

“He had a job where he was doing very well, had very high ratings, was very well-liked in the Central Ohio market, and now all of a sudden, he doesn’t have a job,” said Edwards, who believes Dispatch Media Group lacked “just cause” when they fired Torgerson.

“We’re going to explore filing a lawsuit against the station and anybody else that was involved in his discharge.”

And that “anybody else” may include Torgerson’s former colleague, Kirk Herbstreit, the ESPN personality who hosts his weekly radio show on “97.1 The Fan,” an ESPN Radio affiliate.

Edwards says he may investigate Herbstreit for something called “tortious interference.”

No, it’s not what happened when the hare awakened to find he was trailing in the race.

But if you want to read up on it, though, there’s a Wikipedia article all about it.

Basically, Edwards wants to find out if Herbstreit’s October 15 radio program – “where he went off on Scott Torgerson” – or Herbstreit himself played any role in Torgerson’s firing. “We’d like to know… did he talk to anybody else at the station?,” said Edwards. “Did he call any people in management?

“We would like to know… what Mr. Herbstreit said, who did he say it to, and why did he say it.”

Edwards, however, made it clear that he did not know for certain as to whether or not Herbie pulled strings at the Worldwide Leader to get Torgerson canned. That might be up to the court of law to decide.

While no lawsuit has been written up at this time, the suddenly unemployed Scott Torgerson believes he has a case. In his first blog post on his new website, TheTorgShow.com (he admitted “I am just learning this web stuff”), he promised that “unless something changes, I will file suit. My counsel feels we have a very strong case, so I will not comment.”

He also declined comment on “Herbie.”

“Sorry I can’t say a word on this one.”

Torgerson also used his website as a classified ad for potential program directors. “I love doing my job [radio] and don’t want to change careers,” he wrote on Wednesday, his first day officially no longer with “97.1 The Fan,” no longer hosting a show that he claims was “the second highest ranked sports talk show in the country” on his blog.

“I was employee of the quarter the Friday before,” Torgerson bragged to The Lantern. “I would think being the… strong ratings and the income I have made for the station, that deserves a second chance.”

He also claims that a “Save The Torg” Facebook page has 33% more likes than the one maintained by “97.1 The Fan.” So “The Torg” certainly has his following. You can tell by reading different Internet articles about this story, and discover the Torg trolls in full effect on the comments section, with cries of, “Let him live!,” which was a catchphrase on the afternoon drive show on WBNS-FM which has since been renamed to just “The Common Man,” as in Mike Ricordati (they might want to remove the “Torg” from the URL, though).

So how will Torgerson make ends meet if he can’t get a new radio gig? He might turn a running gag on his radio show – high-ranking people who have to work at a Citgo gas station after being relieved of their duties – into a reality.

“I may do it,” he said.

Well, he already has the Twitter handle to reflect any future employment there.

That’s right, three days after his infamous “get fired or die” tweet at his old Twitter account, @MyGuyTheTorg, Torgerson opened up a new Twitter account, @CitgoTorg – likely reflecting his apprehension that he wouldn’t have been reinstated by “97.1 The Fan” in the first place. And since his termination, he has reactivated his old Twitter account and can now be found at @TheRealTheTorg.

And possibly a Citgo station in Central Ohio.

But if he had his druthers, he’d rather it be a radio station.

“Now I have to deal with the punishment for my actions,” Scott Torgerson said.

“I just don’t feel firing me is a way to handle it.”

Just like wishing someone you loathe dead is a way to handle them being on your TV set.

Right, “my guy”?

Death Wish For Desmond Howard Gets Columbus Radio Host Suspended

Columbus radio host Scott “The Torg” Torgerson (shown here with his co-host, Mike “The Common Man” Ricordati) was suspended by WBNS-FM after openly wishing for ESPN “College GameDay” analyst (and Michigan graduate) Desmond Howard to “get fired or die so I can watch Gameday again.”

Have you noticed that Joe Buck calls a lot of New York Giants games? Don’t know if there’s a stipulation in his contract or it just works out that way (a Giants/49ers game originally scheduled to be called by Thom Brenneman ended up being a Buck job since the San Francisco Giants hosted the NLCS opener that night).

Anyway, you can go on every corner of the Internet – and of course, Twitter – and find people that absolutely vilify Buck and his style of calling football and baseball games. If viewers were stuck with Buck, there are alternative audio options out there so you can hear your team’s call of the game, and mute the TV.

But I seriously doubt that anyone in this crowd would hope for Buck to somehow get terminated by Fox, or worse, suddenly perish.

Not so much the case for Scott Torgerson. When last you heard of him, he and his radio partner who make up the afternoon drive sports radio team of “The Common Man And The Torg” on WBNS-FM in Columbus, Ohio, were schmoozing with our commander-in-chief.

This past Saturday morning was like any other for “The Torg” during college football season: get ready for that day’s Buckeyes game, and watch ESPN’s “College GameDay,” a program about NCAA football disguised as a two-hour advertisement for The Home Depot and Cheez-It. (Mind you, I just watch it for the signs.)

Anyway, on this particular Saturday, “College GameDay” analyst Desmond Howard was getting on The Torg’s nerves. So he wrote: “I wish Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch Gameday again.”

You see, Desmond Howard regularly gets on The Torg’s nerves. In fact, The Torg claims that it’s some sort of running gag on his show: Howard went to the University of Michigan, The Torg does a radio show in Columbus, home of Ohio State University – excuse me, THE Ohio State University.

But could it be more than just a bit for the show? Could The Torg really have a deep-seeded hatred for Michigan alumni? Here’s more of his previous tweets mentioning Desmond Howard:

August 31, the eve of the new college football season: “I love College Football but I cant watch GameDay. Desmond Howard is such a dope he just compared Fitz Toussaint’s DUI to the Tat 5. #DOPE”

September 8, while watching the new Fox college football show hosted by Erin Andrews, Eddie George and Joey Harrington: “Too much hand movement on the Fox pregame show but I like them better than Game Day because no Desmond Howard. #typicalmedia”

Last November 19, the day “GameDay” analyst Lee Corso dropped an F-bomb toward the end of the broadcast: “I hope Corso doesn’t get too much heat. It could mean more Desmond Howard. His stupid little giggle laugh is annoying. I hate him.”

And a random tweet from the middle of last July: “I hate Desmond Howard.”

Now, I’m no psychologist, but this certainly sounds like an Ohio State honk with an utter disdain for “the enemy,” i.e. Michigan, and anyone/anything associated with the university. He probably scoffs at the TV if there’s a movie with James Earl Jones (1955 graduate) being shown, or perhaps he can’t watch reruns of “The Brady Bunch,” particularly scenes featuring Alice the maid, played by Ann B. Davis (1948 graduate). I bet he can’t even watch NFL Network because Rich Eisen (1990 graduate) is on it all the time. And he likely loathes Madonna (1979 graduate).

So with “College GameDay” being must-see TV in Columbus, the mere presence of Desmond Howard on the program is a major obstacle for The Torg to withstand. So by expressing his wish for Howard to “get fired or die,” he was showing his true colors. What had been a pleasure on Saturday mornings had become a chore for The Torg, all thanks to that kid who won the Heisman Trophy twenty years ago while representing the University of Michigan, Class of ’92.

A short time after Torgerson’s “death wish” tweet, he posted what appeared to be a “mea culpa” tweet: “My Desmond Howard tweet was a joke. I think if you listen to the show you know that. My apologizes to those who took it serious. Total joke.”

I’ll tell you what the joke is here: The Torg’s alleged attempt at an apology. Really, who has heard “I wish so-and-so would die or get fired” and immediately doubled over in gut-busting laughter?

Probably The Torg after he pictured what “Gameday” would be like in the post-Howard era.

As it turns out, guilt was sinking in on The Torg. Big time. So much so that he deleted, no, not the tweet, but his entire Twitter account. (This is why I have used Topsy to link his past tweets in this post.) Yes, Scott Torgerson realized that with a little three-letter word in the middle of that tweet, he could be in big trouble.

Indeed, he was: He did not show up for the Monday edition of “The Common Man And The Torg.” A source has informed the Columbus-based sports blog Awful Announcing that Torgerson was indeed suspended indefinitely.

I’m guessing that he was not hanging around the station that afternoon when Kirk Herbstreit did his weekly one-hour college football radio show.

That’s right: Kirk Herbstreit, who you may have seen on such ESPN shows as “College GameDay,” also hosts a weekly program on the radio station whose afternoon co-host has called for the death or firing of Desmond Howard, who you may have seen on such ESPN shows as “College GameDay.” Which brings this situation a bit closer to home.

As you would expect, Herbie torched The Torg.

“Just sickening,” he said during a three-minute diatribe, referring to Torgerson only as “an individual that works at the radio station.” He explained how he and Howard are good friends off the air, despite the fact that he used to be a Buckeye quarterback and Howard suited up in Ann Arbor. “I know that’s a crazy notion to think about,” he told listeners. “I can look past the fact that he had the audacity to wear a Michigan uniform.” He also expressed his shock that a colleague at the ESPN Radio affiliate has carte blanche “to say such asinine comments… To me, he crossed a line.”

(The full transcript of Herbstreit’s rant is below.)

It will probably be awhile before we hear from Scott Torgerson, or his alter ego, “The Torg,” again. I really do hope he learns a valuable lesson from all this.

I’ve seen radio hosts get suspended for saying, doing or provoking reprehensible things, only to end up being fired.

To borrow a quote that President Obama told Scott Torgerson months ago, if I were “The Torg,” I’d be pretty nervous.

—————————————————————————————————————–

[ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit responds to Scott Torgerson’s tweet about Desmond Howard on his WBNS-FM radio show:]

“I’m gonna just address this publicly, because I think what Desmond Howard had to deal with over the weekend is disgusting, and very sad to think that, because – I don’t know what, I don’t know the reason behind it, but the tweet from an individual that works at the radio station was, was above and beyond, I think, what was acceptable. It is another example of what Twitter, and how things can be said, and things can be, “I was just kidding, I was just laughing”, and meanwhile, you have a guy who’s, you know, not real sure what to think about that in Desmond, and his family’s concerned about him… Just some things that just should not be tolerated, and just, just sickening. And, I – there’s so much more I wish I can say about that, but I’ll choose not to, but believe it or not, people that are, that have a hard time understanding this, this would probably keep you up at night, but former Ohio State players and former Michigan players are actually friends. I know that’s a crazy notion to think about, but Desmond Howard is a very good friend of mine, and I can look past the fact that he had the audacity to wear a Michigan uniform, and he’s a good man, and he’s a great father, and great husband, and does not deserve what he received with that tweet, and what came along with it. And I just apologized to Desmond, and to his family, that he had to endure that, and I’m really embarrassed more than anything to think that somebody who works at an ESPN [Radio] affiliate, who works at our station, has a forum to say such asinine comments, and what the individual lacks in credibility, to me, he makes up for by just throwing arrows and rocks at people, and that’s his thing. And to me, he crossed a line, and that’s something that, again, is completely unacceptable.

“When you know people – I know Desmond as an individual. And I just – we’re talking about college sports on TV and on radio. There are bigger fish to fry in our life than college sports, or sports in general. And to say you wish somebody would die is absolutely mind-boggling. Whether you’re kidding or not, you do not hit ‘send’ on that message, to get out to the masses. Just something that I just have a very hard time with.”

Erin Andrews "Exhausted" With Tebowmania: "ESPN's Really Fascinated By Him"

Erin Andrews tells Rich Eisen she's "exhausted" with all of the coverage Jets second-string quarterback Tim Tebow has been receiving. "ESPN's really fascinated by him," says the former ESPN personality, now working with Fox Sports. Watch Andrews on the debut of "Fox College Saturday" this weekend.

Calling out ESPN for way too much Tebow Time? That’s fightin’ words.

Especially when they come from a former employee.

That would be Erin Andrews, who left the Worldwide Leader after nine years for greener pastures at Fox Sports. She was the inaugural guest on the new season of “The Rich Eisen Podcast“, and among many of the subjects during her conversation with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen – himself a one-time ESPN personality, for about as long as Andrews – the world-famous second-string quarterback Tim Tebow came up.

“ESPN’s really fascinated by him,” Andrews said. “I think the cameras are always on him, aren’t they? It’s like, Tebow holds the door open for someone — ‘BREAKING NEWS: Holds The Door Open For An Old Woman’.”

Andrews questioned how worthy Tebow is of all the coverage he’s receiving, when the fact of the matter is, he’s the second-string quarterback on a team where both he and primary quarterback Mark Sanchez failed to find the end zone in the preseason. “How much impact is he really gonna have?,” she asked. “If it’s not the last name on the back of the jersey, would we care anywhere else? I’m just confu — I don’t know… He’s a backup quarterback. I just don’t understand.”

“It’s exhausting,” she continued. “And I know we’re supposed to love it in the media, but after awhile, it’s just like, ‘Okay, can you just play without all the hype, and this drama around him, and you know, what’s Tebow doing today’ — just go play the game. I get a little exhausted with it.”

She did say that she was “proud” to have covered Tebow’s college days at her alma mater, Florida. Despite that, “what else is there about Tebow that we need to know about?”

“You tell me,” Eisen countered. “You’re the Gator.”

Eisen admitted that while NFL Network has “our fixation” with Tebow, “we didn’t send our signature show there. Like, they sent “SportsCenter” to Cortland, New York” [site of Jets training camp].

Meanwhile, Andrews did have nice things to say about her former ESPN colleague Chris Fowler – in fact, she enjoyed working with him on “College Gameday” so much, she says, that it was “really hard” to make the decision to leave for Fox. “He’s insane good,” Andrews raved. “I don’t think the guy gets enough credit.”

Eisen himself must miss the Worldwide Leader. He admitted to Andrews that around six months into his NFL Network tenure, he once came back from a commercial break on “NFL Total Access” by telling viewers, “Welcome back to ‘SportsCenter’.”

If you want to hear Andrews’ appearance on the podcast – and we know you’ll want to do that now that it has to do with Tim Tebow – click here. The Andrews interview begins at around 17:00; the Tebow talk starts at around the 25:00 mark.

And be sure to watch the video version of this podcast Thursday on NFL Network.