Over the weekend, Columbus sports talk host Scott Torgerson sent this offensive tweet about ESPN's Desmond Howard, creating a firestorm in Columbus and abroad.
Torgerson, co-host of "The Common Man & The Torg" on 97.1 The Fan, the ESPN Radio affiliate in Columbus, can be coarse and outspoken. Like many sports talk shock jocks, he makes a living pushing the envelope on what is funny and what is unacceptable. Joking about Desmond Howard dying falls into the latter category. Today, Torgerson didn't appear on his afternoon radio show and co-host Mike Ricordati said he was "resting" at the top of the program – likely code for a suspension. A source close to the situation tells AA Torgerson has indeed been suspended. A request for comment from the station hasn't been answered at this time.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for 97.1 The Fan has confirmed to AA that Torgerson is "on suspension" at this time.
Clearly, Torgerson's tweet about Desmond Howard crossed the line and it caught attention nationally, even earning these replies on Twitter from Howard's wife Rebkah:
But this story has another additional layer of complexity and intrigue. Monday on WBNS, Kirk Herbstreit joined Anthony Rothman for his weekly hour long radio show in Columbus. Herbie is in the interesting position of being a former Buckeye, hosting a show on the same station as Torgerson, and working with Howard on College GameDay. Herbstreit pulled no punches in ripping the Torg for his tweet and defending Howard in a poignant statement that never once called Torgerson by name…
Herbstreit should be applauded for taking that stand in this case given his unique perspective working from both sides. There's still a very small percentage of Ohio State fans that hold a grudge against Herbstreit for whatever reason, but hopefully the majority of the fanbase sides with him, reason, and ethical discourse.
Torgerson initially tried to laugh off his tweet as a joke and "what he does" but has since deleted his Twitter account altogether and will likely have to sit out for an unknown period of time. Hopefully Torgerson and radio hosts around the country can learn a lesson from this case on boundaries and the differences between producing laughs and outrage. The entire epiosde is just another example of many of a sports shock jock not thinking before speaking, whether on the radio… or on Twitter.