Published on Thursday, 30 August 2012 14:42
Sports commentators often put their foot in their mouths, especially when speaking emotionally about a game or team they are passionate about. Allen Pinkett, the color commentator for Notre Dame football radio broadcasts did just that on an appearance on WSCR-AM/670 The Score yesterday afternoon. Those comments have caused Pinkett to be suspended... and maybe more.
Allen Pinkett is a well-loved figure to Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans, have played his college career there in the mid-80s and being one of the best running backs in Notre Dame history. After playing six years in the NFL (Houston & New Orleans), Pinkett went into broadcasting eleven years ago as an analyst for Notre Dame's football radio broadcasts.
Yesterday afternoon, Pinkett was a guest on Chicago's WSCR-AM, having a conversation with the station's Dan McNeil and Matt Spiegel about college football team from South Bend, IN. In talking about the team's toughness and recent troubles, Pinkett began the conversation by saying the Fighting Irish needs some players who are "bad citizens" and not "choir boys." Pinkett feels that Notre Dame needs to loosen its reigns on the school's requirements on bringing in player/students, thereby bringing players with an "edge." Pinkett claims Ohio State would have "two or three guys that were criminals and that just adds to the chemistry of the team."
The entire Pinkett interview with WSCR-AM's McNeil & Spiegel, and immediate reaction to it, can be heard HERE
While those controversial comments were not horrible, and he attempted to downplay it somewhat soon afterward, it still caused a firestorm of complaints from Notre Dame fans & alumni yesterday.
As the complaints to the comments continued to flame up, Allen Pinkett issued an apology statement later Wednesday night, which read:
"In reviewing my remarks from a radio interview Wednesday, it's clear that I chose my words poorly and that an apology is in order for these inappropriate comments. My words do not reflect the strong pride and passion I have for the Notre Dame football program. I am deeply sorry and did not intend to take away the focus from the upcoming season opener. I especially would like to offer my sincere apology to the current members of Notre Dame's football team, including Coach Kelly, the entire Notre Dame community, the IMG College Audio Network and the Ohio State football program. As a proud Notre Dame graduate, I wish nothing but the best for our football team and the University. I understand that there may be consequences to my actions and accept whatever discipline is imposed."
This Saturday, Notre Dame is having its season opener in Dublin, Ireland against the Navy Midshipmen. Pinkett left yesterday afternoon to fly to Ireland to be with the team and prepare for the broadcast. However, as of earlier today, Pinkett was forced to take a return flight back to America. He will not be allowed to broadcast Saturday's game, as he is now suspended for those comments.
The IMG Notre Dame Radio Network issued a statement
today regarding this situation. The statement, written by IMG College's Vice President of Communications Andrew Giangola, read:
"Allen Pinkett, a commentator on the IMG Notre Dame Radio Network who made unacceptable comments this week about student athletes, will not be part of this weekend's broadcast in Dublin. Don Criqui and Jeff Jeffers will handle the broadcast duties. Notre Dame taking on Navy at the Emerald Isle Classic in Dublin is an historic game showcasing the very best of American college sports. The event deserves to be free of distraction. Further decisions on this matter will be made in the coming days."
At this time, it is not known if this will be a one-week-only suspension, a multi-week suspension, or worse. Famed Chicago sportscaster Chet Coppock heard from trusted sources close to the situation and posted on his Facebook page
that Allen Pinkett will be fired for his comments about Notre Dame's athletic program. There is no official comment from the University or the IMG Notre Dame Radio Network regarding Pinkett's future.
Notre Dame football radio broadcasts are heard locally on WLS-AM 890, with pre-game shows hosted by Coppock.