Bob Ryan Returns to ESPN After Suspension for Remarks on Mark Jackson

Bob Ryan Returns to ESPN After Suspension for Remarks on Mark Jackson

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Bob Ryan Returns to ESPN After Suspension for Remarks on Mark Jackson

bob ryanBob Ryan was suspended from ESPN for comments that he made about former Warriors coach and current ESPN color commentator Mark Jackson, TBL has learned (SI’s Richard Deitsch wondered aloud Saturday night if this was the case). Reached for comment today, Bob Ryan said that it was an “intemperate, foolish outburst that I regret. I was treated very nicely by the company, and have told them that I will not do anything like this again to be out of their good graces.”

The legendary retired Boston Globe columnist made the following comments on Dan Le Batard’s radio show on January 6th, when, via Deadspin (which also has video), he was “asked if the Golden State Warriors turning into world-beaters right after firing head coach Mark Jackson was an indictment of Jackson’s coaching abilities”:

Bob Ryan: 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.”

I didn’t know that it would be Steve Kerr. I didn’t know that it would be Luke Walton. I didn’t know WHO it would be, but I knew that he was out there, and there were plenty of them out there that could make them a better team, yes.

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

Bob Ryan: 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.

On January 8th, ESPN issued the following statement: “Bob’s comments were inappropriate and personal. We have addressed it with him. He recognizes he was wrong.”

He also apologized at the time:

Today, Bob Ryan returned to ESPN’s airwaves for Sports Reporters, and has said he will be back on Around the Horn twice this week.

Undoubtedly, Bob Ryan crossed the line of Bristol’s editorial standards with these remarks, especially when considering they were about an ESPN employee. However, it bears mentioning that Mark Jackson does not have an unblemished record in league circles.

This week, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that LeBron James’ first choice had been to replace David Blatt with Mark Jackson:

To become the preferred candidate of the most powerful player in the NBA – and de facto Cavaliers general manager – Jackson understood what he needed to do: Bring on James’ and Paul’s Klutch Sports agency as his representation, and prepare to deliver those commission fees into the King’s coffers. Blatt never had a chance. He never knew what hit him. […]

In the end, here was the problem for Klutch Sports’ original plan: Cleveland refused to hire Jackson. General manager David Griffin is too well-connected in the NBA, too knowledgeable of the truths inside Jackson’s Warriors regime to let that happen.

In 2012, Jackson admitted to having been involved in an affair, six years prior, with an ex-stripper, who was arrested with a co-conspirator after allegedly attempting to extort the then-Warriors coach.

 

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