Was ESPN right to fire Ron Franklin?

The environment at work has certainly changed during the last few decades. The combination of more working women, an emphasis on office diversity and increasingly proactive HR departments has lessened the locker-room atmosphere that was once so prevalent in many workplaces.

In fact, what used to pass for good-natured banter has become cause for discipline and even firing. Discussing sex, religion and politics, or telling off-color jokes are often frowned upon at work.

Earlier this week, ESPN fired longtime announcer Ron Franklin after he called sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards “sweet baby” and used a derogatory term after she objected to his behavior. Although ESPN initially pulled Franklin from radio coverage of the Fiesta Bowl, “Based on what occurred last Friday, we have ended our relationship with him,” network spokesman Mike Soltys said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

While many people agree that today’s workplace environments are a great improvement over the boys-club climates of old, others think that political correctness has gone too far and strangled free speech.

What do you think? Was ESPN right in firing Franklin? Are people too sensitive at work or is it imperative to promote professional behavior at all times on the job? Have employers overreacted and become “PC police” or are they justified in insisting on civil treatment in the workplace?

- by John Brieske, Blog Break

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13 comments Add your comment


January 6th, 2011
12:01 pm

If I had a dime for everytime some female employee called me sweetie or hun, I’d be retired by now. Now if I used that tone or language with female employees, I’d be without a job and in the poor house. Once, about ten years ago I worked in a cubicle next to a nice black fellow and he described the place where he grew up as crackville and I assumed he meant drugs only to later find out that he had said crackerville. Now, I being a whaite guy thought it was funny to decribe a black kid growing up in a white neighborhood that was; however, a female employee ran to the HR department and filed a complaint. Needless to say, he wasn’t fired but he was moved to a different office. The pendelum has swung too far. I’ve seen many male employees let go for harassment and improper behavior and some them got what they deserved. However, I’ve see many people fired and lose their careers over a harmless misstatement to someone who was just waiting for the appropriate time to file a complaint and/or lawsuit. Somewhere in all this political correctness we have lost sight that we are human and therefore speak and act imperfectly from time to time.


January 6th, 2011
12:56 pm

I work with female coworkers who make sexual comments and jokes 100 times worse than this. Fellow employees and myself don’t mind this, it actually makes the work place more relaxed by not feeling like your offending people when you speak or make jokes. I personally think espn overreacted to this. Political correctness in this country is becoming unreal.


January 6th, 2011
1:05 pm

Enter your comments here

Pete Kote

January 6th, 2011
4:31 pm

Women don’t belong in football. Every time they show a woman sideline commentator I turn my TV off.Football is a mans sport.I think this political correctness thing is out of hand.It all started when they allowed women commentators to the locker rooms and then the women complained tht the men were running around naked after a shower.How can you shower without taking your clothes off!!As far as I am concerned I like to see them in all other sports but not football.This is the same as in the military. They insist on mixing the men with the women and then penalize the men after they have had a consensual relationship. In Burma during WWII the Burmese had a tradition that an engaged bride had to sleep back to back the night before the wedding to prove her purity. Needless to say there were thousands of Monks in Burma.I wonder why.


January 6th, 2011
7:57 pm

What an overreaction led by the PC police. This kind of thing happens in business all the time. Its happened to me, and I let it roll off. A confident woman wouldnever let this bother them.

Bluegrass Red

January 6th, 2011
9:00 pm

I don’t think the firing is justified.


January 7th, 2011
9:24 am

The irony of the liberal outrage over Franklin’s indiscretion is laughable. Their constant uproar over “the punishment not fitting the crime” in other areas apparently doesn’t extend to inappropriate remarks phrased by males to females. You can’t send a person to a federal penitentiary no matter HOW many parking tickets he has – his violation is still no more serious than a misdedmeanor. Franklin got the death penalty for a misdemeanor.


January 7th, 2011
10:54 am

The firing was justified. He called her “sweet baby” in a condescending tone. When she told him she did not like that, he then called her an “a** hole”. Which was the part left out of this story. You use that kind of language in any work envirnoment and you deserve to be fired! Period!


January 7th, 2011
7:33 pm


steve m

January 8th, 2011
6:18 pm

First of all he should have been reprimanded not fired. Secondly, I am so sick of everything being geared towards women , I am a man and we talk crudely at times. It doesn’t make us bad just men. As for ESPN and its PC campaign I am done with them. They are pushing female reporters ad nauseaum. I like male reporters during football and basketball games. So sue me. Maybe some day there will be a sports network where men can be men. It’s certainly not at ESPN and I for one won’t be watching that network anymore. As my brother said ” It’s too bitchy”

evelyn dart

January 9th, 2011
6:03 pm

joke just like the cost for ESPN, getting rid of it soon

Don Chinery

January 10th, 2011
10:36 am

I spent 30 years in the Navy, watched woefully unqualified women crash multi-million dollar airplanes, airheads get promoted over more qualified men because a certain number of women had to be promoted, obvious dykes hitting on the incoming female seamen or should I say sea women? On it goes, just like Ron Franklin, if every male got fired for calling someone an A-hole, all the males would be homeless. I gag every time I hear a female attempt to broadcast male sports, it is pitiful, so I mute the sound and do my own narration. I have gotten quite good. “Sweet Baby” offensive? What about the millions of women in the south that call everyone “Hon” or “Darlin’” or………..”Sweet Baby”?

Sweet Baby

January 13th, 2011
2:17 pm

You have got to be kidding me. The man should not have been fired. The lady should be fired for being so soft.