Of all of the ESPN suspensions on which we have reported, this latest one seems to have been done very quietly. It dates back to January 6 when Bob Ryan went on the Dan Le Batard Show. Ryan was asked about ESPN analyst Mark Jackson’s performance as coach of the Golden State Warriors.

You can see the video of the phone interview at Deadspin and it’s Ryan being his usual bombastic self calling Jackson a “Bible-pounding phony.”

The comments transcribed by The Big Lead came out have to read three or four times to be really believed:

I am on record, thank God, publicly saying two years ago, I looked at the NBA, I looked at the rosters and what was going on, and said, “The most talented team one through eight, at least, in the NBA is the Golden State Warriors. They’re doing okay, but I know that they can do better. I know if they had a real coach, not some phony, Bible-pounding phony that Mark Jackson is, when he isn’t even a legitimate Bible pounder, I know that they’ll be better off.”

Le Batard was shocked and tried to give Ryan a chance to get himself off the hook:

 I mean, Bob, that was savage, what you just did. A legitimate Bible pounder?

But Ryan was having none of it calling Jackson “a con man.”:

Yeah, because he’s a phony. That’s all. Well, I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. And I can’t believe they took him back on that broadcast. Oh my God. He’s a con man, and he’s done very well at it. I’ll give him credit for being a great one.

That did not sit well with ESPN management and it promptly suspended Ryan two days later offering the usual terse statement:

“Bob’s comments were inappropriate and personal. We have addressed it with him. He recognizes he was wrong.”

For his part, Ryan apologized:

Ryan’s suspension lasted until today when he made an appearance on The Sports Reporters and has been booked on Around the Horn twice this week.

Ryan’s tendency to go off the cuff has gotten him into trouble before. Back in 2003 during an appearance on WBZ-TV in Boston, the former Boston Globe columnist made comments about former New Jersey Nets point guard Jason Kidd’s wife Joumana saying he didn’t like seeing her at games:

Ryan said he was irritated by Joumana Kidd and suggested that she had brought the attention upon herself, in part by parading the couple’s 4-year-old son, T.J., as ”a prop” in front of the television cameras. ”I’d like to smack her,” Ryan said.

The Globe suspended Ryan for a month and he maintained a low profile during his time off.

Certainly Ryan can be a loose cannon, but that potential certainly keeps him as a regular guest on the sports talk circuit.

[The Big Lead]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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