Posted October 09, 2013

Gus Johnson imitation gets high school commentator death threats, school discipline

NFL
A 15-year-old play-by-play commentator received death threats and was disciplined by his high school for taking a page out of sportscaster Gus Johnson's book. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old play-by-play commentator received death threats and was disciplined by his high school for taking a page out of sportscaster Gus Johnson’s book. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old Ohio boy serving as play-by-play commentator for a high school football game received death threats and subsequent discipline from his school after he imitated sportscaster Gus Johnson during an on-air broadcast last Thursday.

According to the Sandusky Register, the boy reacted to a run from a Haitian player on the opposing team by saying, “he’s got that getting-away-from-the-cops speed,” a line originally said by Johnson during a 2009 broadcast to describe a run from Chris Johnson in a Tennessee Titans-Jacksonville Jaguars game. Johnson later apologized for using the line, but it was subsequently included in Madden NFL games.

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The boy’s comments prompted people to make death threats against him, and the high school administration decided to take action as well. According to the report, the school district’s superintendent, Ed Kurt, said the boy has been “disciplined,” but he wouldn’t give further details, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act:

“We worked with the student, and we hope this is a learning experience. We want to move forward in a positive fashion.”

The boy’s parents are currently seeking legal advice as to whether to sue the school and/or those who made the death threats against their son. Authorities are reviewing the threats, many of which were made on Facebook, and they will take action against any that they feel pose a credible threat, according to the Register. 

As the report points out, sports broadcaster Howard Cosell had received criticism in 1983 after he said on-air, “that little monkey gets loose,” a comment he made about Alvin Garrett, an African-American wide receiver with the Washington Redskins.

Footage of Johnson’s call:


6 comments
RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

Typical behavior from the whiners who cry about racism - death threats to a little boy?  Seriously?  Can we just ship these type of people to the sun?   So many touchy, whiny babies out there these days.  We've gone from being a nation of tough, hard-working and at times, heroic "joes" to a nation of whiny, latte-sipping, pansies who over-react to anything and everything.  Pathetic.  Maybe if the type of people who would actually be running from the police learned to clean up their act, they wouldn't have to worry so much about being offended.

PaulAnderssen
PaulAnderssen

A news story about a 15 year old boy published by the "Sandusky Register"? Did Jerry Sandusky start his own newsletter from prison?

geometer
geometer

That's some fine reporting there, Marc.

Howard Cosell was a champion of civil rights. It's been well-documented that he was fond of referring to any energetic youngsters as "little monkeys", especially his own grandchildren. It's  irresponsible to perpetuate this myth that he was being racist for making an innocent comment that basically ended his career.

bulletrico
bulletrico

Death threats aimed at a kid??? People listen kids make mistakes for God's sake. Chill out!!!

Kramer George
Kramer George

@geometer Uh.... Marc is reporting a fact. Cosell got a lot of criticism for the comment. Marc didn't call him racist. Can you read?

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@bulletrico  

The kid makes a silly -- yes, silly -- comment, and gets death threats?

Maybe his comment wasn't so far off-base.