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.”