ESPN parted ways with Colin Cowherd a week earlier than planned due to the radio host's disparaging comments about the Dominican Republic. Perhaps Cowherd, host for more than the last decade of "The Herd" that aired on ESPN Radio from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm eastern time, forgot that he hadn't yet left the network and was taking too many liberties with his comments. He's always been a bit caustic and controversial, but never really challenged the boundaries of the nation's largest sports network. On Wednesday, Cowherd confirmed and commented on what had previously been widely reported, that he would be leaving ESPN to pursue other opportunities, one of them something on Sirius/XM. The following day he said, and I'm paraphrasing here, that baseball couldn't be all that complicated since a third of the players are from the Dominican Republic, not exactly known for a great education system. While I can certainly understand where he was coming from, his comments were very clumsily delivered for a host with his experience. Is it possible he just had a little short-timers disease, failing to prepare as well as he normally does? He drew the ire of Dominican athletes as well as the Major League Baseball Players Association. As a result, ESPN has removed him from the air for the next week, unfortunately denying Cowherd an opportunity to leave the network with the amount of grace I'm sure he would have preferred.
More problematic than an extra week off for him is that it's been widely speculated, but not confirmed, that Cowherd is headed to Fox Sports. In addition to broadcasting the NFL and Nascar, Fox is the largest rights holder for Major League baseball, including the World Series and All-Star games. While it's highly unlikely that Cowherd would ever find his way anywhere near a baseball broadcast booth, the network as a whole might catch a lot of flak for putting him on the air after the criticism he faced from the sport. On the other hand, Colin Cowherd's audience most likely skews more affluent and thoughtful than a lot of local shows,so he might not be in as much danger of having alienated his core listeners as he transitions to a new network or networks. Either way, for a guy who didn't attract much attention outside the sports talk industry, he's certainly gotten noticed the last couple of weeks. In addition, if his comments give Fox Sports a reason to rethink their decision, it may leave Cowherd few options, maybe with nothing more than an independently produced podcast. Stay tuned.
Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords. The third installment, "Offsetting Penalties" is due out in the fall.