Reader Brian let us know about this oddity during match point of today's opening-round match at Wimbledon today between Kim Clijsters and Jelena Jankovic, in which a voice on ESPN asks "Why don't you go fuck Josh out there?" in hushed tones.
Update (5:54 p.m.): As many people pointed out, it appears the voice is saying "Why don't you go for the drop shot there," so feel free to ignore the rest of this analysis.
We don't know who Josh is, and for that matter we don't know whose voice it is asking the question (or to whom). A bit of audio forensics suggests it may be analyst Pam Shriver, who in the past has gotten into trouble with what she's said on-air.
There was this episode with James Blake, for example, which featured Shriver interrupting a match with her too-loud criticism of Blake. There's also this, this, and this. Our own John Koblin talked with Shriver last year, and she provided a very telling comment:
"I've learned to really appreciate the courtside position and the art of picking up certain subtleties," she said. "Player expression you can't see from a camera angle, or the booth. [Where I am] you can see a little injury or a little concern a player has. I like that challenge."
Then her voice picked up.
"Also, ESPN gives you an open mic," she said.
This is the tool that allows Pam to just be Pam. And since ESPN started picking up the cable rights to more and more tennis matches, it seems the network has given her a longer and longer leash to say whatever she'd like into that open mic.
Of course, these all make us love Pam Shriver that much more, but circumstantial evidence isn't enough to conclude she's involved with this "Josh" incident (which by itself is rather silly; regardless, we really would love to learn who Josh is). Here's what we know: the whispering voice most likely didn't come from a crowd microphone, because it appears on the center audio channel to which Shriver and Chris Fowler's booth commentary was mixed. Shriver's Twitter suggests she was in the booth with Fowler, as opposed to her roaming around the grounds with an open microphone (which happens often).
Who is Josh? Who should go fuck him? Have any more clues? Let us know.