Over the weekend, Columbus sports talk host Scott Torgerson sent this offensive tweet about ESPN's Desmond Howard, creating a firestorm in Columbus and abroad.
Torgerson, co-host of "The Common Man & The Torg" on 97.1 The Fan, the ESPN Radio affiliate in Columbus, can be coarse and outspoken. Like many sports talk shock jocks, he makes a living pushing the envelope on what is funny and what is unacceptable. Joking about Desmond Howard dying falls into the latter category. Today, Torgerson didn't appear on his afternoon radio show and co-host Mike Ricordati said he was "resting" at the top of the program - likely code for a suspension. A source close to the situation tells AA Torgerson has indeed been suspended. A request for comment from the station hasn't been answered at this time.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for 97.1 The Fan has confirmed to AA that Torgerson is "on suspension" at this time.
Clearly, Torgerson's tweet about Desmond Howard crossed the line and it caught attention nationally, even earning these replies on Twitter from Howard's wife Rebkah:
But this story has another additional layer of complexity and intrigue. Monday on WBNS, Kirk Herbstreit joined Anthony Rothman for his weekly hour long radio show in Columbus. Herbie is in the interesting position of being a former Buckeye, hosting a show on the same station as Torgerson, and working with Howard on College GameDay. Herbstreit pulled no punches in ripping the Torg for his tweet and defending Howard in a poignant statement that never once called Torgerson by name...
Herbstreit should be applauded for taking that stand in this case given his unique perspective working from both sides. There's still a very small percentage of Ohio State fans that hold a grudge against Herbstreit for whatever reason, but hopefully the majority of the fanbase sides with him, reason, and ethical discourse.
Torgerson initially tried to laugh off his tweet as a joke and "what he does" but has since deleted his Twitter account altogether and will likely have to sit out for an unknown period of time. Hopefully Torgerson and radio hosts around the country can learn a lesson from this case on boundaries and the differences between producing laughs and outrage. The entire epiosde is just another example of many of a sports shock jock not thinking before speaking, whether on the radio... or on Twitter.
Torgerson initially tried to laugh off his tweet as a joke and "what he does"
are you kidding me! if you had ever listened to the show you would know that it is more comedy then sports and herbstreet can lick my shoot. hope i don't get fired for that.
Good Lord Herbsreit. what a pussy. Torgerson is obnoxious radio host and readily admits it. He was in no way talking literally, and meant no malice toward Howard. Most people who don't act like the morality people get this. In "defending" your friend all you did was make a fool of yourself by being overly serious about a non issue. I don't think that is family suffered from this as you said. BTW I am not even a "Torg", but this is utterly ridiculous.
Herbstreit would never say anything controversial... in fact I don't think he would ever say anything even the least bit interesting either.
The Fan announced on Facebook this morning that they have terminated Torgerson's employment with the station.
People, grow up. Torg didn't make any threats, he didn't use a racial slur, he didn't (insert Penn State joke here), etc. For those of you not in Columbus/from Columbus, mind your own business. That goes for you too, incredibly average, popup-ridden blog. For those of you obviously upset by the show, STOP LISTENING.
I don't hear this program where I live, but just going by what he said, Scott is a dumba$$. He should be fired for being so stupid. Is he by chance related to our VP, Joe Biden?
@awfulannouncing If you listen to the show you know the only person who took it serious @ the time was Herbstreit, who had an axe 2 grind.
Many of us realize Herbie's venom and decision to make a mountain out of a molehill is seated in a bit of jealousy. Herbs cannot stand it that Common Man and the Torg landed one of the ultimate interviews a couple months ago. It was a heck of a coup for them to chat w/ POTUS about sports live on air.
If the executives at 97.1 were really surprised by the comment they are the joke! If Desmond, his wife and Herbie are offended....then apologize. But to act like the was an appalling thing to say, stop it. If gets Desmond and his wife a little attention, so be it. If that was what they were looking for. I have no ill will for Herbie and wish him the best, but he turned out to be a coward. He blamed OSU fans for his moving away from central Ohio. There are plenty of idiot OSU fans I agree. However, get thicker skin. Let Torg live!! All I can say is that I am a big fan of the show, but i=f torg goes away permanently Im done.
@CraigCraigBoBeg who you calling classless? Just because I just applied to the Citgo doesn't mean I'm classless. I'm #thetorg !
@richarddeitsch who U calling a knucklehead? @KirkHerbstreit & @DesmondHoward made this a story. Those 2 & @CollegeGameDay jumped the shark
My GUYS!!!! I love this show. Herbstreit is a joke. He does a show once a week during college football season. He should remember where he came from and stop acting like he is a broadcasting god. This is entertainment people and sometimes people say things that sound harsh but when it comes down to it they are joking. Howard is a public figure and he is a Michigan Heisman Trophy winner. Torg broadcasts a radio show in Columbus, Ohio were the main topic every day all year round is Ohio State football. Scott as well as Mike are both laid back sports fans who host a radio show and say the things that every fan says or jokes about in their living room. Howard and his family should understand who he is and what he does for a living and obviously not take it seriously. Torg was playing to the Michigan/ OSU rivalry and his followers. The show they broadcast everyday is radio gold! If I had to guess they are by far the highest rated show on 97.1 the Fan. Mike and Scott have amazing on air chemesry and I really hope he does not get fired. This may sound lame but when I get off work every day at 4pm and drive home they make me laugh out loud and make my day. It would be a shame if he got fired. I know I am not alone too because they have a strong following of listeners that goes back many years. FREE the TORG. Occupy the FAN!!! LET 'EM LIVE!!
Stay classy #Ohiostate MT @awfulannouncing: A Columbus radio host suspended for tweeting Desmond Howard should die. http://t.co/nTnGBS6a"
This is dumb. Torg is a comedian. Anyone who knows the show knows that. You can pick a million things out of their broadcasts and Tweets and make a big deal out of them if you're touchy.Contrary to how they're being labeled, Torg & Riccordati are not shock jocks. They are two normal guys who talk about sports just like any two normal guys would at a bar. No gimmicks, no BS, just normal guy banter - this style has meant big ratings and loyal listeners. They don't treat listeners like morons, even though we largely are morons. More importantly, they treat their listeners like adults who are capable of taking jokes, sarcasm, and yes, even bad taste.Herbie knows how Torg & Riccordati are. He knows better. He is trying to make Desmond and all of humanity victims here. You would think someone who has been through the media gauntlet like them would have thicker skin. Howard's wife is in the right to defend herself if she so chooses. She's handled herself and the "situation" just fine, but Herbie and the rest of the folks in the pile frankly don't have much business in it. If Desmond and his family are upset, let them handle it. Herbie, who obviously has a grudge of sort with Torg, is acting like this is a legit death threat. It wasn't.
This is all a big deal over something very little, and the morality police are doing their best pious routines. It's comedy folks, whether you find it to be good or bad comedy, it's still comedy. Those of you who want to get offended by every little thing, continue to bang your drum. For those of you with the power to turn the dial if you don't like it, by all means do it. Otherwise, go back to screaming about Lindsey Lohan and Honey Boo Boo.
As an OSU Alum and season ticket holder, even I will admit that Torg's comments were way over the top. I respect Herbie for standing up and expressing his strong opinion.
Herbie has a lot of pull and influence at ESPN, therefore, I think he will be successful in getting the 50k a year shock jock fired, especially since it's an ESPN affiliate.
I don't think many people will be sad to see Torg go. He knows little about sports and tries to be the Howard Stern of Columbus. His act has never been funny or added any value to the show or the station. It would be horrible if they decided to keep him.
I can't wait to see if Spielman makes any comments. Torg is very intimidated by him.
@rollinonstuds however Desmond is not good on the show, he is a puppet and everyone can see it. Can't wait until Pollack takes his job (2/2)
@rollinonstuds saw the tweet when it happened, laughed, agreed with the fired part & thought the death part was a little over the top (1/2)
@awfulannouncing you should listen to that guy after an OSU game. No class or taste, with the OSU blinders on.
@awfulannouncing well, technically, he is right. desmond howard should die. i'm guessing somewhere around the next 30-40 years?
@awfulannouncing not a fan of Desmond Howard but that is awful to say he will be luck if he isnt working under Jim Tressell at the Citgo
@jy08 grow up? Yeah I guess wishing someone dying is something we should probably lighten up over...we are the ones who should grow up not torg...but hey let him live right? Loser.
Geez Jenna, is that what you get out of Herbie's comments? There are some serious nutjobs in our fanbase.
@JennaRichardson Jenna, you have really unlocked it. Kirk has to be to be burning inside. With him being one of the most respected sports casters making millions each year doing what he loves and having the experience of playing for Ohio State against Michigan...I can tell you really get it. you are sticking up for someone who did not even know who Ohio State was 4 years ago when he was doing crap sports radio in Arizona and then Minnesota prior to that. He is a frontrunner who will root for whatever team resides in the city he is employed.
@joepc44 hahaha I always wondered what kind of person that actually likes to listen to torg and thinks he's a smart guy sounds like...now I know and not shocked one bit.
@joepc44 If the main topic of every show is OSU football, I fail to see how this is radio gold.
@Libertarian_Rx torg is a comedian?!?!? Hahah he's a idiot that will make fun of himself so ricordoti and anyone else will accept him...he add nothing too the show at all except "couldn't agree with you more mike" every show...oh yeah he loves www too...man he would have so many friends if he wasn't on a espn affiliate radio show I'm 100%a sure. He called denard Robinson a s.o.b yeah a 21year old kid who's playing football on a scholarship....sweet man ur only 40, he's seriously the biggest loser I've heard on the radio...please go back to Minnesota where he won't have to try so hard to make friends.
@OSUAlum41 hhahah I couldn't agree anymore!!! I've always said that once he took spielmans spot. He's not funny at all, never ever adds anything to the show, gets on his knees every show for ricordoti and lets him (who is like 8 years younger than him) man fun of him all the time! "Couldn't agree with you more mike" is his most used statement...get rid of him! He's a immature loser that will agree and like everything u want him to as long as u will be his friend.
Considering The Fan's Facebook page, I think many people WILL be upset if Torg doesn't return.
Your exactly right maybe he is a "frontrunner". He has moved around the country doing sports talk radio. As you said, "root for whatever team resides in the city he is employed." I guess my question to you is, "what do you expect?" It’s his job. Although, if you have ever once listened to their show Scott as well as Mike will openly root for their favorite teams. Scott is a fan of the Minnesota Vikings and Mike is a fan of the White Sox and Bears. They both moved to Columbus and say regularly that they both "Adopted" the Buckeyes and over time have become fans. Which honestly, I believe them as its nearly impossible to live in the city of Columbus and not at some point over time become OSU fans. What do you think deep down Mike is an Illinois fan or Scott is a Golden Gopher fan. Give me a break. Them like many others who move to this city where college sports or football is not popular adopt the buckeyes and eventually become fans. For instance Mike is a season ticket holder for OSU basketball games. This is why people like me and many others like this show. When you listen to these guys they never give you any b.s. They say what is exactly on their minds. In this situation it got Scott in trouble. When the bears and Vikings lose you hear about it on Monday. Honestly their reactions are hilarious. I find them funny. Maybe you or others don't. There is an easy reaction to this: Don't listen to them if you get offended easily. Let em' Live.
@IksarCleric @joepc44IksarCleric, it's Columbus. That's how it's "radio gold." Columbus became a large city after MLB and NFL were firmly entrenched in nearby cities. Therefore, we have not much beyond the Buckeyes and it's what we want to talk about and hear about. Of course something like college football isn't the main love in places like LA, Chicago, or just down the road in Cincinnati. However, when it's all a city had for decades and citizens donated to get Ohio Stadium built, it's passed down through the generations.
Wwe* sorry my auto correct does a good job at stopping me spelling out useless and embarrassing terms.
@Gerbsirish02 you sound really smart