Busted Racquet - Tennis

The mystery of Roger Federer's muted comment has been solved!

Richard Deitsch of SI.com asked an ESPN spokesman about why it appeared that the network dumped the audio during Federer's post-match interview on Wednesday night. "The sound went dead for a few seconds causing instant panic in the truck until the sound came back," ESPN said. "The interruption was due to RF [radio frequency] interference. It makes more for good Internet fodder but he was live."

As our pal Dan Levy points out, the fact that they blame RF's audio trouble on RF interference is pretty amusing. But though Deitsch and Levy both buy ESPN's explanation, I'm more skeptical.

Here's the video again so you can judge for yourself:

Look, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I think we landed on the moon, that Oswald killed Kennedy and that 2Pac isn't still recording music on an island in the Caribbean. But I don't buy this explanation one bit. I don't think Federer said anything too bad, nor do I think that this is some massive cover-up by ESPN. But the reaction of everyone -- from Federer to his wife to Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani and, especially, Pam Shriver -- suggests that there was some risque talk going on. Why would Federer keep saying "but"? Why does the Bush frontman look so amused? And what the hell was Pam Shriver babbling about in her question? (Also, have you ever seen a backup microphone appear so quickly? There are technical problems all the time in sporting events and I've never seen such Johnny-on-the-spotness.)

The ESPN explanation seems too convenient. If I'm allowed to baselessly speculate (and face it, I'm a blogger and this is what everyone assumes I'm supposed to do anyways), I think ESPN cut the audio and then didn't want to admit that they're running the Open on a brief delay so they blamed it on technical issues instead. And I'm also pretty sure that second microphone came from a grassy knoll.

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