The last week or so much of the sports media world has been focused on the incendiary comments of KNBR sports talk host Damon Bruce, whose awful rant about women not being welcome in sports went viral. The controversy has now died down and most people have already moved on in this 24/7 news cycle. Bruce was suspended for two days but he has his normal timeslot back and is talking about sports again.
There was plenty of serious soul searching done by a number of people in sports about the barriers that exist for women and the male-dominated sports culture. Bruce's comments hit a nerve that touched off a firestorm across the sports media.
Examining Bruce's comments in detail also opens up the wider backdrop of sports talk radio. I was shocked yesterday to see this quote from ESPN Radio SVP Traug Keller transcribed by ESPN's Kristi Dosh at a conference presented by SBJ.
If you're not getting in trouble, you're not doing your job. No wonder Colin Cowherd sees so much support about ESPN in spite of his many controversial statements over the years. This is a man who has received promotion after promotion in spite of saying people in Ohio and Indiana were bringing unemployment on themselves, said that Mark Mangino had "low self worth" because of his weight, shut down a website, and also said some pretty awful things about the death of Sean Taylor.
There's something inherent in sports talk radio that leads to more unfolding controversies and subversive commentary than other forms of sports media and it's a disturbing trend throughout the entire medium. In sports talk radio, a definite culture emerges where controversies, offensive rants, mindless tweets, scandal, and suspensions rules the day.
There are many great sports talk radio hosts throughout the country that don't need to rely on shock jock antics to draw an audience. They should be applauded for not taking the easy way out and diving into the gutter. Nevertheless, there is a pervasive attitude that exists in the industry that produces the likes of Damon Bruce. He is far from alone. Here is a list of the notable controversies, suspensions, and firings to emerge from sports talk radio in the last 13 months...