ESPN's live broadcast of the Global Rallycross event in Las Vegas Saturday night turned bizarre as the feed—being recorded for later tape-delayed broadcast—revealed a series of bizarre comments by announcers in the aftermath of a driver's devastating accident.
Canadian driver Richard Burton failed to make a jump on the night's first race, necessitating his extraction from the car with neck stabilization due to a possible back injury. Despite this, ESPN announcers (never identified on the broadcast, though we believe it's Tes Sewell and Jen Horsey) express annoyance and confusion before mocking Burton's poor performance and, even more bizarrely, referring to the bank executive-turned-rally driver as living in "super-ghetto housing" and having previously worked for the Royal Bank of "Canadia."
The open feed ran on for more than a half hour, providing some insight into how ESPN manufactures the sausage that is their tape-delayed coverage; at one point the announcers conduct on-air research of Burton using his Facebook page—all while Burton, strapped to a stretcher, was en route to the medical facility.
Rallycross fans lashed out online, calling the broadcast "horrid." It was, of course, tidied up when it finally aired Sunday afternoon:
At the very least, ESPN owes Burton an apology, especially for the bizarre allegations that the bank executive lives in public housing (which, if true, is his business, right?). Without knowing his status—and nearly a year out from Dan Wheldon's fatal crash at that same track—their comments are mindblowing. In an age of encrypted digital satellite broadcasts, the old "wild feeds" are nearly nonexistent anymore; that ESPN broadcasts them on its ESPN3 channel without oversight is astonishing.