ESPN and the SEC Network took swift action after analyst Barry Booker after he made an off-the-cuff remark about watching “scantily clad girls” on the NCAA gymnastics mats.
The comment came during Sunday’s SEC Network broadcast of a men’s basketball game between Missouri and Arkansas when Booker and announcer Richard Cross began talking about an upcoming Alabama-Arkansas women’s gymnastics meet.
— W00PIGS000IE (@W00PIGS000IE) February 10, 2020
Cross said he thought that being on Valentine’s Day, the meet could be a good “date night idea.”
“Go hang out with the ladies…I mean, I wanna go see some scantily clad girls!” Booker joked in reply.
Cross was immediately wary of the joke and quickly said. “No, no!” before adding that gymnastics offers one of the “great family atmospheres” in sports.
“That was Barry Booker.” Cross added, making clear that he was not the one who referred to female gymnasts as “scantily clad girls.”
Booker brought up the comments later in the broadcast and apologized.
Unsurprisingly, the SEC Network was very unhappy with Booker’s remarks.
“The comments made during yesterday’s telecast were inappropriate and unacceptable. We take this matter seriously and are addressing it internally. SEC Network respects all student-athletes and is committed to showcasing women’s sports with the utmost regard,” the SEC said in a tweet on Sunday.
The commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, Greg Sankey, also released a comment taking Booker to task saying that the broadcaster’s comments “do not meet” the SEC’s “expectations.”
Sankey added that he is “confident this issue will be handled appropriately.”
The comments made during yesterday’s telecast were inappropriate and unacceptable. We take this matter seriously and are addressing it internally. SEC Network respects all student-athletes, and is committed to showcasing women’s sports with the utmost regard. https://t.co/SDjKD5JREP
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) February 9, 2020
The network says that it is handling the situation internally.
The comment is especially troubling to those still hurting over the sexual abuse scandal that beset the world of gymnastics. A scandal that sent long-time USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to jail for 60 years.
Booker, who played for Vanderbilt University, has been an SEC analyst for six years and was last in trouble for flipping off a producer during a 2014 Alabama-LSU game.
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