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ESPN Suspends Kornheiser for Sexist Remarks Against Hannah Storm

February 24, 2010

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="265" caption="Tony Kornheiser"]Tony Kornheiser[/caption] After letting loose a string of misogynist remarks, ESPN's Tony Kornheiser has been suspended by the network for two weeks. On his February 16 radio show, Kornheiser said that SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm wore "a horrifying, horrifying outfit today. She's got on red go-go boots and a Catholic school plaid skirt...way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now... She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body." ESPN's prompt suspension of Kornheiser is only appropriate, but this isn't the first time his language has been questioned. So why discipline him now? USA Today reports that, when asked if the issue was derision of an ESPN colleague, rather than the content of his remarks, spokesman Mike Soltys said: "Yes. Respect for colleagues is paramount!" Alright, but does it follow that, had Storm been just some woman, ESPN wouldn't hold Kornheiser accountable for nationally broadcast sexism? In further reporting on the incident, USA Today's Michael Hiestand criticizes the network for reprimanding Kornheiser: [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="139" caption="Hannah Storm"]Hannah Storm[/caption] "ESPN is missing the big picture. As a scrappy start-up that rode its edginess into becoming established, it needs to keep its edginess to avoid becoming your father's Oldsmobile to young viewers…Let its own staffers form their own circular firing squads. That would entertain the rest of us." Hiestand's bewildering logic – that ESPN should protect its ratings and "edginess" over the dignity of its staff - also suggests that sexist comments should be defended for the sake of public entertainment. As if comparing a woman's torso to packaged meat was just yer daily dose of good humor. As if encouraging Howard-Sternian antics would somehow raise the bar of sports journalism ESPN has attempted to keep high for many years. You want to make fun of people on your show? Fine. Great. But keep sexism out of it. ESPN missed an opportunity, as the arguably macho-est network around, to show some solidarity with women in media, and declare misogyny unacceptable on their airwaves. That would have been standing up for one of their own.
Tags: Media, Sports