Longtime Iowa radio broadcaster Gary Dolphin was suspended for the remainder of the season on Friday after he compared a Maryland basketball player to “King Kong” on the air.
During the postgame broadcast following No. 21 Iowa’s 66-65 loss to No. 24 Maryland on Tuesday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Dolphin referred to Maryland forward Bruno Fernando — who is black and was born in Luanda, Angola — as “King Kong.”
Fernando scored the final bucket for Maryland to secure the win — a tip-in with just 7.8 seconds left in the game.
Here's an audio clip of the comment in question by Gary Dolphin. Dolphin has been suspended for the rest of the season. pic.twitter.com/tNCCO1yvFG
— SoundOFF (@SoundOFF13) February 22, 2019
“That’s some pretty good long-range shooting,” Dolphin said on the broadcast. “And then Fernando was King Kong at the end of the game.”
“Yeah, he was,” Dolphin’s co-host, Bobby Hansen, said next, via the Des Moines Register. “And they had done a really good job, Gary, for the most part rebounding.”
Dolphin, who has been Iowa’s play-by-play announcer for both football and basketball for 22 years, apologized on Friday.
“During the broadcast, I used a comparison when trying to describe a talented Maryland basketball player. In no way did I intend to offend or disparage the player,” Dolphin said in a statement, via the Des Moines Register. “I take full responsibility for my inappropriate word choice and offer a sincere apology to him and anyone else who was offended. I wish the Iowa Hawkeye players, coaches and fans all the very best as they head into the final stretch of the season. I will use this as an opportunity to grow as a person and learn more about unconscious bias.”
The incident marks Dolphins’ second of the season. He was suspended for one game in November after he was caught on a hot mic during a game criticizing a Hawkeyes player and the program’s recruiting efforts under coach Fran McCaffery.
Learfield Sports Properties, which owns the rights to Iowa broadcasts, announced the suspension and said it is for basketball only. Jim Albracht will take Dolphin’s place alongside Hansen for the rest of the year.
“The University of Iowa athletics department supports Hawkeye Sports Properties’ decision to indefinitely suspend radio play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin,” the Iowa athletic department said in a statement, via the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “The University of Iowa athletics department values diversity and is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all members of its campus community.”
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