Being stuck in an elevator isn’t the only awkward situation for Jim Spanarkel this week, but the latest one is of his own doing. The CBS analyst and former Duke and NBA player, who was calling Thursday’s West Virginia – Bucknell game with Verne Lundquist, had a rather odd response to a post-halftime segment from colleague Allie LaForce:
LaForce, serving as the broadcast’s reporter, relayed comments from Bucknell coach Nathan Davis on West Virginia’s offensive rebounding and how the Bison would have to work to negate it in the second half. Then Lundquist asked Spanarkel “And how do you feel about that?” Spanarkel replied “I agree with Allie, I always agree with Allie, though,” and Lundquist chimed in with “I know you do!”
Spanarkel then continued with “Eight offensive rebounds…well, I’ve learned not to argue with pretty women. Like the people in my house, I don’t get in trouble with the people that are in my house either, so eight offensive rebounds, Allie, when you think about it, is really a problem, from the standpoint of Bucknell.” [West Virginia promptly gets another offensive rebound and scores.] Lundquist then goes “That’s a very good philosophy of life, by the way,” and Spanarkel goes “Yeah, isn’t it?”
This prompted all sorts of criticism of Spanarkel on Twitter:
whoever's doing color in buffalo is gonna wish he had that one back.
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) March 16, 2017
— Pete Kenworthy (@petekenworthy) March 16, 2017
@SarahSpain If he wasn't there already, add Jim Spanarkel to the list of misogynist cretins still sadly polluting the broadcasting world.
— Nameless Number (@AnubisAndFooFoo) March 16, 2017
Jim Spanarkel agrees w/ only pretty women & bc life then easier? Not because they are right? @CBSSports needs to redo sensitivity training.
— Susan Rowland Miller (@srowmill) March 16, 2017
@CBSSports Jim Spanarkel do you have daughters? Do you want them to be agreed with because they are pretty, or because they are smart?
— Sarah (@sarahkbf) March 16, 2017
— Will Shapiro (@willshapiro) March 16, 2017
Criticism’s certainly deserved here; this was a terrible choice of words, and it was oddly done in general. LaForce was relaying information from Davis, so it should have been more about agreeing or disagreeing with him, not with the messenger. (And the point about allowing too many offensive rebounds seems like a valid one, especially as another one happened during this clip.)
Beyond that, there’s no call at all to reference LaForce’s appearance, especially as a reason to agree with her. But mistakes do happen, and this does seem to mostly be a clumsy misstep and awkward word choice. It’s a very poor choice of words to use about a colleague, though, and not a terribly professional comment to make. We’ll see if there’s any apology forthcoming from Spanarkel or CBS.