Anyone recall particularly notable instances of biased commentary by sports commentators who were supposed to be neutral?
There was this incident at a dodgeball tournament.
Don Meredith basically broke down on Dallas Cowboys 38-0 loss to the St Louis Cardinals on a Monday Night Football game in 1970.
Tommy Heinsohn commenting on any Celtic game. Especially the classic Laker v Celtic series.
Jesse “the Body” Ventura. Always seemed biased to me.
I suppose I should no better than the expect her to be neutral, but Cathy Rigby calling Olympic gymnastics back in the day made me queasy.
Ask any NFL or non-St Louis MLB fan, and they will swear to you Joe Buck is out to get their team.
Probably this night. (Granted, the circumstances probably played into it a bit. I must confess, I was crying that night, and not because we were losing)
I suppose this counts as “biased”: Darrell Waltrip, in his first-ever NASCAR announcing gig, got rather emotional during the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, which was won by his younger brother Michael. (This was also the race where Dale Earnhardt was killed, though obviously no one realized it at first.)
A similar thing happened to Ned Jarrett when he called his son Dale winning the same race. I recall the other announcer telling him to “call it like a father” when he tried to hide his excitement.
Joe Buck IS a total homer.
And, perhaps second only to Joe Buck, is White Sox announcer and homer Hawk Harrelson.
I understand showing a slight bias toward the team you’re employed to commentate. But I think that there has to be at least an attempt to be objective.
In the clip I linked, Harrelson goes on a rant following a White Sox pitcher being ejected for hitting a batter. Harrelson’s tirade includes stating that the ump should be suspended, sent back to umpiring school, the phrase “you gotta be bleeping me [his standard comment when he disagrees with the umps, including the ‘bleeping’ instead of swearing]…what in the hell are you doing?”
Plus his little catchphrases:
when a Chicago player hits a home run: “You can put it on the board. YES!”
On a White Sox pitcher striking someone out:“He gone!”
On umpire Lance Barrett, following a close ball that COULD have been a strike (but looks low to me…video here): “Lance Barrett’s just stunk the joint up, is all he’s done, that’s all he’s done…he’s terrible.”
You can find more here.
Screwed up the coding. Bullet point 2 should say “He gone!” after a strikeout.
He has also stated about umpire Lance Barrett: “Lance Barrett’s just stunk the joint up, is all he’s done, that’s all he’s done…he’s terrible.”
And about umpire Joe West: Harrelson appears to have developed a dislike of umpire Joe West, who “in the past few years, has had some problems with the White Sox.” West had started a game the night before, but called it due to rain after about a half inning of play. In a game earlier that year, West had ejected Ozzie Guillén and Mark Buehrle for two separate balks in the same game. Hawk said on a broadcast in 2015,“The first rule of baseball is catch the baseball and the second rule is don’t mess with Joe West.”
For anyone who doesn’t get the joke, pro wrestling commentators are always biased. The current trend is for the play-by-play guy to favor the face (good guy), while the color commentator favors the heel.
Al Michaels calling the “Miracle at Lake Placid” medals-round game between the US and the Soviet Union on 22 Feb 1980. Of course, it was such an upset, it would have been inhuman to have not gotten excited by that game, as long as your nation wasn’t on the losing end of it.
And the “biased” bit was really just the very ending, if I recall correctly. I was kind of young, and frankly too excited about the game myself to notice Michaels’ lack of neutrality.
Anything by Jack Edwards, who calls Bruins games for NESN. Beyond being a massive homer, he is a massive piece of shit, laughing at opposing players when they’re hurt and at questionable hits by the Bruins, and defending blatant cheap shots.
I’m not entirely sure Olympic announcers are supposed to be neutral, or to come across that way, at least in the US (and Canada). I mean, a number of them seem pretty fair, but some…aren’t. I can still hear some speed skating announcer (sorry, no idea who) yelling ecstatically “Derek Parra brings home the gold medal for the United States of America!!!” and thinking “Gee, they don’t do that when the winner is Dutch, or German, or Japanese.”
Worst of all are the figure skating and gymnastics announcers (again, not all, and sorry, still don’t know any names), who seem to think that every American gets a lower score than he or she deserved, and that every Russian or South Korean or Ukrainian is having their scores unfairly inflated…
But as I say I’m not sure that they’re supposed to be impartial, the way the announcers for an ESPN baseball game between KC and Minnesota, say, are expected to be (whereas the Royals and Twins announcers are expected to have a rooting interest).
Bill Walton. Before Game 6 of the 2000 NBA Finals, Lakers vs. Pacers: “This is all about the coronation of the Lakers.” As I recall, he even had a victory cigar ready and everything!
Walton never played, nor did he broadcast, for the Lakers. If he made such a comment, and had such a cigar ready, it was as a neutral observer.
ETA: Was he right?
Is he supposed to be neutral, though?
This is a famous one from English RL.
The bias is probably deserved, but still it’s funny.
Skip Bayless hates the Packers. Never understood why.