Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Voice of Harold

Big news at the leader today with Harold Reynolds getting canned. The company line is still simply stating that he was let go for "violations of company policy." Details are still coming in, and the full truth probably will not come out for some time. What we do know is that his firing was not related to any on-camera spats with John Kruk (this has been a common theory in the wake of the news breaking, but we're told that has nothing to do with it.) Several of our most reliable sources allege that sexual harassment is the cause of his demise. Nobody can say this for sure, and we cannot state that we're 100% sure but this is the overwhelming opinion, and usually where there's smoke there's fire. Where Harold will surface next is anyone's guess (though our money is on him being the newest member of The Best Damn Way to Throw Away Money on Fox Sports.)

If harassement allegations are the real reason behind the firing, we can't help but wonder how many offenses it took for HR to finally get the boot. Allegations of him being overly friendly with the ladies have been around since we worked at the Leader, but they usually seemed to be harmless - one of those running jokes that you didn't put much stock into. He was one of the more likeable analysts working at ESPN, and the fact that Harold had such a fun personality surprises us that he would commit a fire-able offense, but it seems apparent that he must have taken things too far.

A look into ESPN on air talent from days past reveals a few who had "issues" around the ladies. Jason Jackson, former NBA 2night host was suspended several times before he was finally fired after leaving a paper trail. (J-Jax's move of asking a PA over e-mail if she's ready for "the chocolate thunder" is apparently frowned upon.) Mike Tirico was suspended a few times as well for behavior that bordered on psychotic, but seemingly conquered his skirt-chasing demons and has been a model citizen for the past several years. A former coordinating producer of Baseball Tonight was given several suspensions as well before it became obvious that he was a chronic harasser (not to mention all around a-hole) and he was finally shown the door for good 2 years ago, after harassing multiple women. It's important to note that the above firings were carried out due to "violations of company policy," so ESPN never publicly outed the specific reasons for those firings. Nor will they probably ever specifically out the reason for HR's firing.

ESPN has always been reluctant to put the hammer down and get rid of the higher-ups as well as on-air talent. This is not always a bad thing - everyone makes a mistake once in a while and the appearance of a reformed Tirico represents that people certainly can change for the better. A larger part is that by building up a case of repeated offenses, ESPN/Disney help save themselves from a messy civil case by parties claiming they were fired unjustly. What's particularly bothersome though is that all the cases mentioned above involved female production assistants - the low folks on the totem pole who are constantly fighting for the jobs while being careful not to rock the boat.

Then again, PAs do get free pizza on Saturday nights, so I suppose that's worth an ass grab now and then.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Hey, nice REM reference.