Fired Sportscaster Announcer Sues ESPN

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Ron Franklin, a former announcer for ESPN, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against ESPN alleging that he could only be disissed for a “failure to perform” his job. The incident for which he was fired involved remarks he made to a sideline reporter in a hotel lobby before the Chick-fil-A Bowl, including his “sweetheart” remark. Although Franklin does not name the reporter in his lawsuit, he claims that she (Jeannine Edwards) “continuously interrupted and verbally jabbed” at him while he was having unrelated work conversations with other people regarding Texas property taxes.

According to the former ESPN announcer, his two-year contracts with ESPN and ABC that expire March 2012 contain a narrow “failure to perform” clause, which allows for termination based upon inadequate preparation, lack of punctuality, insubordination or an “act of moral turpitude”.

ESPN spokesperson commented that the agency believes its action to terminate Franklin was appropriate. In 2005, Franklin was reportedly involved in an on-air incident when he called Holly Rowe, an other sideline reporter, “sweetheart”. The ESPN ombudsman at the time called Franklin’s tone demeaning.