Earlier this week one of my favorite television and radio personalities was suspended from his wildly popular tv show PTI for two weeks regarding his comments toward fellow sportscaster Hannah Storm. Yes it’s true Tony Kornheiser probably could have kept his opinion regarding the attire of Hannah Storm to himself, but for years ESPN has profited for years off his abrasive attitude and willingness, nay excitement to say whatever was on his mind. Did they really expect him to bite his tongue on this?
Now here is what Mr. Tony said that apparently was so egregious that he had to be exiled from the airwaves for two weeks:
“"Hannah Storm in a horrifying, horrifying outfit today, she’s got on red go-go boots and a catholic school plaid skirt way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now. She’s got on her typically very, very tight shirt. She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body. I know she’s very good, and I’m not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won’t … but Hannah Storm … come on now! Stop! What are you doing?"
Now before you jump on me for just contributing to a boys will be boys attitude, allow me to show you what Ms. Storm was wearing:
Now that seems to be a bit unbecoming of someone in a professional setting. If you look at all the men on set, they are wearing suits and ties, women wearing professional blouses etc and not looking like a rejected character from Candyland. I get that it’s difficult and sometimes downright unfair for women in the world of journalism in a mainly male arena, but when you dress in a manner such as that do you expect to be taken seriously?
Michelle Tafoya, Sage Steele, Dana Jacobs, Suzy Kolber and countless others who do their job without resorting to dressing like a tart and rather letting their work speak for them are being done a grave disservice when attention is given to those dressed in a salacious manner rather than those whose work actually encourages you to think or enlightens you on a subject.
I guess the point of this is not to say Tony’s comments should go unpunished. A public apology, a fine, maybe a day or two from his show would have been fine but this appears to be nothing more than over reaction by ESPN which has had problems with claims of sexual harassment and romantic entanglements amongst it’s employees (See: Steve Phillips, Sean Salisbury, & Harold Reynolds).
Hopefully through this whole episode unfolding as it has maybe Ms. Storm can be the journalist anyone who has seen her work knows she can be and not just another person imitating a journalist.