ESPN suspended one of its prominent reporters, Bob Ryan, earlier this month for calling Mark Jackson a “bible-pounding phony” among other things in a rant on The Dan LeBatard Show, when speaking on whether or not the departure of Mark Jackson coinciding with the record-setting dominant play of Curry and the Warriors was an indictment on Jackson.
I am on record, thank God, publicly saying two years ago, I looked at the NBA, I looked at the rosters and what was going on, and said, “The most talented team one through eight, at least, in the NBA is the Golden State Warriors. They’re doing okay, but I know that they can do better. I know if they had a real coach, not some phony, Bible-pounding phony that Mark Jackson is, when he isn’t even a legitimate Bible pounder, I know that they’ll be better off.” I didn’t know that it would be Steve Kerr. I didn’t know that it would be Luke Walton. I didn’t know WHO it would be, but I knew that he was out there, and there were plenty of them out there that could make them a better team, yes.
LeBatard checked in with Ryan, to make sure that’s the message he wanted to get across regarding Jackson, and Ryan elaborated:
Yeah, because he’s a phony. That’s all. Well, I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. And I can’t believe they took him back on that broadcast. Oh my God. He’s a con man, and he’s done very well at it. I’ll give him credit for being a great one.
The news was just brought to light by The Big Lead, who received a statement from Ryan today after requesting his comment on the developments. Ryan described his rant as a “intemperate, foolish outburst that I regret. I was treated very nicely by the company, and have told them that I will not do anything like this again to be out of their good graces.” He’s since been reinstated, and will make several appearances on the network’s programs this week, including The Sports Reporters and Around the Horn.