Surely, the suspension intended for Mike "Martin Luther Coon Day" Greenberg was misdirected in the inter-office mail and given to Tony Kornheiser instead.
Last week, Tony Kornheiser was doing his radio show on ESPN 980 and commented on morning SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm's wardrobe. The relevant section of the program is as follows:
Kornheiser: "I want to point out, for those of you looking at ESPN, I'd like to point out Hannah Storm in a horrifying, horrifying outfit today (pictured). She’s got on red go-go boots and a Catholic school plaid skirt -- way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now. She’s got on her typically very, very tight shirt. So, she looks like she's got sausage casing wrapped around her upper body. I mean, you know, honestly -- I know she’s very good, and I know I’m not supposed to be critical of ESPN people -- I point out people who say they've lost 50 or 60 pounds, have actually gained all the weight back ..."
Male Co-host: "And then some."
Kornheiser: "... I'm not supposed to do anything like that. So I won't. But Hannah Storm today --"
Male Co-host: "Put the weight back, back, back, back, on."
Kornheiser: "Hannah Storm, right, [co-host] Liz [Clarke]? Hannah Storm, come on now. Stop. What are you doing?"
Clarke: "It's painful. And you hit the highlights. The red go-go boots, the Catholic school --"
Male Co-host: "It's a little more Burberry than Catholic school. But still."
Clarke: "It's a Lolita-esque quality."
Male Co-host: "Yeah. Trashy."
Clarke: "Appealing to the fantasy of the little -- well, let's stop there."
Kornheiser: "What I would call a Holden Caulfield fantasy at that point."
I'm on Team Tony. He is unequivocally correct about Hannah Storm's presentation. She is wearing red hooker boots with a skirt her parents probably bought for her way back when she was in middle school. That is just the opposite of appropriate. Indeed, Storm has been so otherwise unremarkable in her anchor duties, that she's mainly been noticed in the blogosphere solely for her frequently questionable wardrobe choices. Her Hunts Point meets Bristol outfit was hardly an aberration from her normal costumes.
Hannah Storm may be many things. A competent anchor among them. But she is not a tasteful and/or professional dresser. She is not the first to try to eroticize the morning news (see Katie Couric) and she is not the first to try to shamelessly sex it up as a sports reporter (see Jillian Reynolds). But you either do Couric's suit with stilletos schtick or just unabashedly hoochie it up like Jillian. But you don't awkwardly and clumsily try to do both at the same time. Then you come out looking like Hannah Storm. A hot ass mess.
Furthermore, while ESPN selfishly refuses to give their anchors access to professional stylists (it would be wrong to single Hannah out when few of the ESPN anchors have a taste level above JC Penney's), Hannah has been a bad influence on her colleagues. Call them "gateway boots."
Linda Cohn has taken to wearing the boots, albeit more stylishly.
Dana Jacobson has sported some boots with jeans (gasp!) on a work day.
I suspect that it was the "sausage casing" crack that upset Hannah the most. Tony brutally implied that she was unsightly and unshapely. No woman wants to be compared to pork. Yeah, that would sting. Still, the severity of Tony's punishment leads me to believe that Hannah stomped childishly, yet ironically, clad in her Lolita-ish outfit into her boss' office and pouted at being embarrassed like that. I only have limited sympathy for her. We've all been laughing at Hannah's outfits for awhile now. Whatever attention she's received, she brought on herself.
What's also not surprising is that Tony Kornheiser would complain about something. Tony Kornheiser complains about everything. Over the years, he has complained about his lucrative jobs, his co-workers, competitors and culture in general. Tony suffers from a chronic case of old man "I don't give a fuck" fever. It is what it is.
Simply, ESPN has overreacted. Truth is an absolute defense. Still, Kornheiser apologized publicly, privately and effusively. Any suspension, especially one lasting two weeks, is excessive punishment. I don't see the benefit in punishing the viewing audience or one of the most distinctive talents at ESPN over something so petty. Furthermore, the Leader continues to inconsistently punish its talent. It is still not apparent who can say what, when they can say it and about whom they can speak about.
I guess ESPN has their reasons, but much like PTI for the next two weeks, I am in the dark.