Phillips Not Necessarily Done in TV
National TV sports announcers - unlike public figures such as politicians or actors - almost never go on TV to talk about their families, kids, pets or hobbies. You might hear about their favorite foods - John Madden introduced millions to turducken - but otherwise they're selling their takes on sports, not themselves.
But on-air sports types aren't simply commodities, either. As sports news and highlights spread online and across more TV shows, networks increasingly hyped their on-air personalities to differentiate themselves amid the sports tonnage.
Which leads to today's question: Will - or should - Steve Phillips get another shot on TV sports?
ESPN this week dropped the baseball analyst after his trysts with - and complaints about - 22-year-old ESPN production assistant Brooke Hundley, who also lost her job. And his public image could still be in flux. She hasn't yet spoken publicly.
But don't assume Phillips won't be back on-air. Marv Albert, who pleaded guilty in 1997 to misdemeanor assault in a sex scandal, is back as a prominent announcer. ESPN fired Harold Reynolds in 2006. He sued for wrongful termination, but ESPN, in court papers, alleged he had repeated "sexual misconduct" with staffers and an intern - but Reynolds is now big on MLB Network. After being suspended by TNT in January for a DUI, Charles Barkley today remains TNT's biggest star.
On-air references to race or ethnicity - think Rush Limbaugh and Steve Lyons - can lead to firings. So can really, really egregious ones - think Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder - made off-air. But there's a much longer list of announcers who were suspended and came back.
At least Phillips is now much more well-known - a big plus in TV - but now needs to seem hugely repentant. If you do that, anything is possible for famously fired sportscasters. Except, maybe, for O.J. Simpson.