Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Monday, October 26, 2009

ESPN analyst Steve Phillips suspended for alleged affair, should he be fired?

ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips has reportedly been suspended for a week amid allegations of an affair gone wrong with a 22-year old production assistant named Brooke Hundley.

Phillips, who is married, tried to keep his infidelity quiet but to no avail. Phillips recently decided to end his dealings with the young lady who invariably lost control. Burkes’ erratic, which included writing a letter to Phillips’ wife prompted him to get the police involved.

This situation reminds me of another ESPN baseball analyst who was unfairly accused of sexual harassment Harold Reynolds. Reynolds wasn’t suspended for a week like Phillips though: he was promptly fired for an incident which happened in 2006.

Why was Reynolds fired?

Reynolds was accused of sexual harassment because he gave a female production assistant “an improper hug” at an Outback restaurant. Charges were filed by the woman. Before any of the allegations could be thoroughly substantiated by ESPN Reynolds was gone with the wind after 11 years of service.

Reynolds issued the following to the New York Post after the 2006 incident, “This was a total misunderstanding. My goal is to sit down and get back. To be honest with you I gave a woman a hug and I felt like it was misinterpreted.”

As we know Reynolds ended up suing ESPN for wrongful termination. ESPN settled with Reynolds in June of 2008. After the settlement Reynolds issued the following, "My family and I are ecstatic," said Reynolds, the former All-Star second baseman. "This is a matter of principle. And I stood on principle and never wavered. All of my goals were met, and now I look forward to concentrating on the game I love."

Reynolds has since moved on to the MLB Network and doing a good job.

Based on how ESPN treated Reynolds without question Phillips should be history as well. Based on the evidence, including the note written by Burke and Phillips being suspended for a week suggests the allegations of infidelity are probably true.

How ESPN can give a man who cheats on his wife get suspended for a week while Reynolds was promptly fired for giving a woman a hug?

Does ESPN handle African American personalities differently than their white counterparts?

Apparently they do.

Anyone remember Stephen A. Smith? He once had it all. Smith had his own show called Quite Frankly in 2006. Up until several months ago Smith was doing radio, writing weekly for ESPN the Magazine. He was also doing NBA commentary, and appearing on Sunday morning on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters. But suddenly Smith was dumped like a bad habit. He was tripped of all that he amassed without reason.

How can someone who had so much fall so quickly?

Whatever happened to NFL analyst Sterling Sharpe and Jason Whitlock on ESPN The Sports Reporters?

In any event it will be very interesting to see how things play out in the coming days. ESPN will do their usual damage control, keep things quiet and slide Phillips back in the mix after some social engineering of course. It will be just like the Golf Channel did with Kelly Tilghman after her bonehead “lynching” statement about Tiger Woods a year ago.

In short, it looks like Phillips will get to do what Reynolds wasn’t allowed and that’s to keep his job.

But stay tuned.

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