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"Why don't you leave this to the boys, sweetcakes." -- Former ESPN Announcer Ron Franklin.
Sexual harassment is no joke, it can cost you your job. So learned ESPN announcer Ron Franklin after calling a female "sweet baby" during a Chick Fil-A Bowl pregame meeting and when she objected, called her an "asshole." Franklin was pulled from the Fiesta Bowl broadcast for the comments made to sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards. Another colleague was present when Ron Franklin made the comments and reported him to ESPN management, SPORTSbyBROOKS reports.
"I said some things I shouldn't have and am sorry ... I deserved to be taken off the Fiesta Bowl," Franklin said in a statement. But his apology was not enough for ESPN. The sports network said in a statement, "based on what occurred last Friday, we have ended our relationship with him." Apparently ESPN was particularly troubled that Franklin didn't apologize to Jeannine Edwards personally.
ESPN likely had to consider the risk of a lawsuit if it did not take action against Franklin. Allowing that kind of discourse among employees could lead to a lawsuit alleging a hostile work environment, among other claims. A hostile work environment is when harassment, such as unwelcome comments or conduct based on sex, race, or other legally protected characteristics, unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Franklin, to his credit, said he deserved to be pulled from the Fiesta Bowl. However, in the end, it was too little, too late.