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Question of the day: Does ESPN have a problem with inappropriate behavior?

January 5, 2011 | 11:52 am

Espn Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, vote in the poll, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Shannon J. Owens, Orlando Sentinel

Let’s be real. What company doesn’t have a problem with inappropriate behavior?

I don’t mean to belittle Ron Stanklin’s, excuse me, Ron Franklin’s foul mouth, but it may be a little too soon to throw the entire ESPN organization under the bus.

There isn’t a company, large or small, in America that hasn’t dealt with problem employees. I’m not aware of any public documents that confirm that ESPN has more inappropriate behavior than other companies. But considering that it has substantially more full-time and contract employees than any other sports media outlet today, I wouldn’t be shocked if that proved to be the case. ESPN isn’t your typical media outlet. It’s a little Hollywood and, therefore, gets all the perks and knocks of increased scrutiny and attention.

I suppose if you look deeply enough into any company closet, you’ll find skeletons. ESPN’s closet happens to be more exposed.

[Updated at 12:49 p.m.:

Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times

ESPN’s Ron Franklin is an excellent play-by-play man, even-toned, mostly mistake-free, easy to listen to, and now he’s fired. It began when co-worker Jeannine Edwards said he called her “sweet baby” during a production meeting. When she indicated that that was inappropriate language, Franklin took a step down the taste ladder and went the crude-word route.

There’s no getting around it. Franklin had to go. But maybe it’s time for someone else at ESPN to lose a job because Franklin, who was guilty at least twice of being a jerk to a female colleague, hasn’t been the only one. Reference Tony Kornheiser, Steve Phillips, Harold Reynolds.

Many of us have had an occasional urge to spit out something demeaning or obscene to an annoying colleague, but we don’t. Not in the workplace. And not necessarily because we’re better but because we know we’d get in trouble. We understand this because the folks in charge make that clear.

So, ESPN honchos, it might be time to make something clear. There are no “sweet babies” on the staff roster. But there seem to be a couple of staffers to whom a few crude words would apply.]