Last week, ESPN's Scott Van Pelt hammered Bud Selig about the MLB Commissioner's $18.5 million salary.A little too much, apparently: SVP was suspended from his radio show on Monday, according to multiple WWL sources.
Van Pelt declined to comment on the incident, passing it along to ESPN media relations, who "do not comment about personnel decisions." The story, passed along through several people, was that Van Pelt's rant about Selig was "too personal" for some of the ESPN bosses — comments about his slovenly appearance, something about a "pimp cup" — which led to the suspension. Van Pelt, reportedly on his own volition, called Selig to apologize and was in agreement that his statements were a little harsh.
Selig does have close relationships with many of ESPN's top execs ( they are currently locked in an 8-year, $2.4 billion broadcast deal from 2005 for Sunday Night Baseball and have other contracts with MLB) and the initial story was that Selig himself heard the remarks and was personally offended by them, but that hasn't been confirmed.
I missed the show and have not seen a transcript of the Selig rant, but everybody on ESPN's side seems convinced that it did step over the arbitrary lines of good taste, unbecoming of a national radio host. Until we see that, it's tough to tell if Van Pelt's being punished unfairly or if he just stepped on some corporate toes. But with the money ties that ESPN has with MLB, it wouldn't be surprising if Van Pelt's getting smacked a little harder for this one than if he was ripping on Gary Bettman.
Update: Someone rescued the audio for us, so listen and decide for yourself: