Sometimes students ask me how they can break into the exciting world of sports broadcasting.
I usually try to discourage them, lest one of them bang into a rejection, careen away from actual sports broadcasting like a stone skipping off a pond, and end up with my job.
But recently, a couple of actual sports broadcasters, completely unsolicited, offered ways to break out of their exciting world. Thanks to them, I can actually offer some advice.
Exhibit "A" was Steve Lyons, late of the Fox Network. Having already been suspended once a couple of years ago for remarks about Shawn Green's decision to refrain from playing baseball during the Yom Kippur holiday, during the current National League Playoffs, Lyons "kidded" Lou Piniella by remarking that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol." Then he tried an alleged joke, the punch line of which had the incomprehensible Piniella stealing his wallet.
It can be argued a guy shouldn't be fired for a joke that falls flat, but unfortunately for Steve Lyons, it can also be argued that when you're in front of an open microphone, you shouldn't be oblivious to the impact of what they're saying.
Also looking for work this week is Lamar Thomas, a former University of Miami and N.F.L. player who'd been working as a t.v. analyst for Miami games until he decided to celebrate a brawl that broke out during Saturday's game.
Thomas applauded the efforts of the Miami players in the fight and said "You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked." He continued his analysis by saying "I was about to go down the elevator and get in that thing."
As the fight that occasioned the suspension of thirty one players, began to abate, Thomas remarked, "I say, why don't they just meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more?"
As college football, even as it is played in games between Miami and Florida International University, is not yet quite pro wrestling, Lamar Thomas was canned.
Steve Lyons lost his job with Fox, but the Los Angeles Dodgers said they would keep him on the payroll as a part-time commentator as long as he agreed to undergo "diversity training."
"I'm happy to do it," said Lyons.
Which is precisely what all you aspiring sports broadcasters must say if any employer ever suggests that you should do the same.
This program aired on October 19, 2006. The audio for this program is not available.