ESPN ADDRESSES BERMAN VIDEOS
Just as the Chris Berman video clip story looked to be complete, a surprise twist was added to the plot in the form of an official statement from ESPN.
Several bloggers (including ProFootballTalk and AOL FanHouse) received a message from ESPN VP of Public Relations Josh Krulewitz downplaying the significance of the Berman clips.
We'll get to that in a moment.
Following correspondences with Busted Coverage and Deadspin, Ampex2000 granted an exclusive email exchange to Sports TV Inside Out. The now-legendary whistle blower who posted five of the six Berman clips on YouTube effectively bade farewell to the public during the exchange, excerpts of which are reprinted below.
Sports TV Inside Out: Your screen name - we wondered if the name came from the Ampex 2000 model VTR from 1967 or perhaps you were a tape operator in 2000 when the material was recorded?
Ampex2000: Ampex 2000 was the work horse of the broadcast industry but now it's a relic. Chris Berman was the work horse for ESPN but now is also a relic. Both don't work too well anymore.
Sports TV Inside Out: The location. You list SF. Is that a reference to Berman's love for the Giants & 49ers or do you live there?
Ampex2000: Both. The screen name and the city worked out perfect for these videos.
Sports TV Inside Out: Sexual harassment has been a well documented complaint against ESPN talent over the years. Do you have any insight into why numerous ESPN talent treat female coworkers that way?
Ampex2000: It's a male macho I-work-for-ESPN-world.
Sports TV Inside Out: You must be enjoying the attention the clips have received. Is there any particular comment (on line or otherwise) that stands out?
Ampex2000: Yes. There were many very, very funny comments. Some folks were totally off base. The best one that made me really laugh was (I'm paraphrasing) "Keep the videos coming you are doing the Lord's work.) There are some amazing people out there with a great sense of humor who get it. The ones who take it so serious just don't get it.
Sports TV Inside Out: The Christian Defense Coalition, the same group that protested in Bristol and tried to get Dana Jacobson fired, have used your clips as further evidence that ESPN is in moral decay. They called for another protest for today in Bristol. What is your reaction to having motivated this group to call even more attention to Berman and mobilize themselves against ESPN?
Ampex2000: Well, being that none of this made air the Coalition should back off. This is just an example of rude talent and how this TV business just goes to some people's heads. Most (not all) talent out there are really nice folks. Guys like Chris however are allowed to keep going because nobody stands up to them.
Sports TV Inside Out: By this point you have to figure that Berman has seen the clips and faced some questioning from his wife, kids & coworkers. Any thought as to how he may have reacted when told of the clips & how he may have explained himself to his family?
Ampex2000: Oh, I'm sure the excuse will be that it was taken out of context. You could make the assertion for maybe the edited pieces. However, it really does not change the overall tone of who he is.
Sports TV Inside Out: Were you hoping for any specific reaction (even in private) from Berman or anyone else at ESPN?
Ampex2000: No. It was more for the public. A guy like that will justify it anyway he wants.....and will.
Sports TV Inside Out: Do you know of others who have incriminating tapes
of Berman or any ESPN talent in their personal collections?
Ampex2000: I know of one. But I think this person would not release it as the finger would be pointed too quickly.
By the way, that was my 15 minutes. Thanks for the attention. And actually I hope it gets some of these bloated egos deflated a little.
My bet is audio guys will be told to close their mikes. Stage managers will keep the area clear of people with camcorders. Tapes and hard drives will be confiscated. In some cases, feeds will be hard patched and no one will really address the problem of rude highly paid talent learning to treat people properly.
As our parents use to say.....If you have nothing nice to say........Then say nothing at all.
But just after sending the above responses, Ampex2000 wrote back with the news of ESPN's official statement from VP of Public Relations Josh Krulewitz.
ESPN ADDRESSES BERMAN VIDEOS
"The off air videos are now nearly a decade old and do not reflect his typical workplace demeanor, his relationships with co-workers, nor the contributions he has made to ESPN over many years," Krulewitz said.
"Chris has a tremendous connection with sports fans and his body of work should not be judged by a few minutes of unguarded language uttered years ago. We aren't excusing the language used and will be emphasizing to our workforce the importance of using appropriate language in the workplace."
Ampex2000: This is so typical of PR departments."Chris has a tremendous connection with sports fans and his body of work should not be judged by a few minutes of unguarded language uttered years ago."
You mean a few minutes of RECORDED and SAVED unguarded language uttered years ago. Even though it went on many many times! Geeze these folks just don't get it. You mean if all the crap he has spewed over many years was recorded at every venue and saved and released as his BODY of work they would find an excuse as that only represents his "recorded off the record body of work" and should no be judged as his "on the air work."
And with that, Ampex2000 was history.