ESPN's Bob Ryan Suspended After Calling Fellow Analyst Mark Jackson a ‘Bible Pounding Phony’

So, just when you thought ESPN was beyond help, completely irredeemable, and more than happy to overlook any slight or attack on people of faith in order to uphold their completely biased, near company-wide anti-Christian bias...all of a sudden, they surprise you. A little, anyway.

For those of you wondering why ESPN regular and Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan has been MIA from the network over the last couple weeks, it turns out Ryan was suspended by the Bristol-based sports media giant for this exchange with Dan Le Batard when, while discussing the Warriors, Ryan referred to former Warriors coach Mark Jackson as a “Bible pounding phony:”

Ryan: “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 OK, 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.”

Le Batard: “I mean, Bob, that was savage, what you just did. A legitimate Bible pounder?”

Ryan: “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.”

Yikes. Ryan later apologized for the comments:

“Intemperate, foolish outburst that I regret,” Ryan said Sunday. “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.”

So, the apparent lesson in all this is that ESPN will discipline those who attack Christianity, as long as the Christian they happen to be attacking is also an ESPN employee.

Because the company certainly didn’t discipline Bomani Jones, after he mocked Russell Wilson’s celibacy pledge to his girlfriend Ciara, even though that episode degenerated into a fight with ESPN NBA reporter Chris Broussard. Jones’ original comments were not directed at Broussard.

Nor did ESPN have a problem allowing a shot at Chargers QB Philip Rivers, who is a devoted Catholic and father of a large family, during a fan Q&A. Rivers also of course, not an ESPN employee.

And as we know, comparing Republicans to ISIS, as Tony Kornheiser did a few months ago, also does not merit suspension. But perhaps if he had called Curt Schilling a member of ISIS, he would have.

Of course, no one at ESPN is more familiar with what gets you suspended than Curt Schilling. All he had to do was be a conservative on Facebook.

Bruce Bookter
Bruce Bookter is a sports journalist. This is a pen name.