If you’re like me, you’ve taken some delight from the pirated video that’s been hitting YouTube the past couple of weeks of ESPN’s Chris Berman being an all-around asshole. But while there’s been some enjoyment, I’ve got to express some puzzlement. I’m not the biggest Berman fan, but I can’t understand why this stuff is just now coming out – it dates from the 2000 football season – and why video of Berman only is being leaked.
I know I’m going to bust some cherries here, but it might as well be me who tells you this. For the most part, television talent are assholes. It’s in the DNA or something. Chris Berman isn’t alone. There are lots of horror stories out there about Keith Olbermann – some of which Olbermann has publicly admitted and apologized for (see Kolber, Suzy, bathroom, crying). So while I know Berman is a prick, I just don’t understand the need to leak this stuff. What reputation the guy had was already destroyed two years ago with the “you’re with me, leather” escapade.
That said, let’s look at these videos. The most famous has Berman exploding into a barrage of fucks, Jesus Christs, and goddamns when people walked through his eye line as he tries to tape a piece. While Berman may have gone a bit overboard, I can honestly say, as someone who has worked in the TV industry, that one of the first things we’re taught is to not make distracting movements while the talent is reading the prompter. And distracting movement includes any movement which s/he can see while trying to read. The only people allowed to move are the stage manager and the camera people, as well as fellow anchors.
So, despite the humor that comes from watching the outburst, I’m willing to give him a pass.
There’s another video of him going off because the teleprompter is on the fritz. Everyone likes to mock anchors for reading the prompter, but they read the prompter because the public demands that the anchor look into the camera like he’s talking directly to the viewer, so looking down constantly at a piece of paper is a big, big distraction. So, once again, I’m willing to give him a pass.
The final video is one of him and a female floor assistant with Berman making pass after pass at the assistant. And while this should probably have him sent to some sexual harassment classes – if not getting the Harold Reynolds treatment – it’s not anything that doesn’t normally occur at a television studio, and Mike Tirico and Sean Salisbury, both at ESPN, have been accused of much, much worse behavior.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m coming to Berman’s defense here. Simple, the religious nutjobs are back. And this time, their target is Berman. They don’t like Berman’s behavior on these videos. They specifically don’t like his language. So they want him fired.
And I ask: Why? None of these videos were actually aired. This is material that was taped as cameras were rolling – IN THE YEAR 2000 – but it was nothing that went to the Monday Night Football audience. The only reason this stuff is now known is because someone leaked the material to YouTube.
It’s taken nearly eight years for someone to be offended. Don’t you whackjobs have something more important to do? Why aren’t you protesting that asshole president who’s killing thousands of men and women in God’s name?
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If you want to get Chris Berman fired, fine. But do it for some legitimate reasons, like for that whole nickname shtick that’s has been old since 1985, or for starting that whole “New York Football Giants” thing. But to go after him for doing something that most other people do in the business is just ridiculous, and it shows just how out of touch these morons are with life.
Damn it, I’m just pissed off because I have to defend Chris Berman. Damn you all to Hell. This language isn’t out of the ordinary for the world of television. I bet you can go down to some of your nice little Christian stations and you’re going to hear the same crap. If your delicate sensibilities are really this offended, my holy fucking god, then put your fingers in your goddamned ears and lock yourselves in your fucking room.
And please, please, leave the rest of us the fuck alone.
P.S.: And really, if you idiots want to protest, then protest ESPN dumping Suzy Kolber from Monday Night Football. Usually, the only reason to watch the awful games is for Suzy. So please, if you’ve got to protest something, protest that. – John Royal