Damien Barling is a co-host of The Lo-Down, a sports talk radio show on Sacramento’s KHTK 1140. Like most everyone, Barling was unhappy with the Kings torpedoing their future by trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans for garbage. He recently relayed his dissatisfaction with the Kings on his radio show after Vlade Divac’s surreal press conference where he admitted that he allowed himself to get played.
Damien Barling: “That was embarrassing. That was absolutely embarrassing.”
Jason Ross: “In what way?”
Barling: “In every single way imaginable. That dude is not fit to be the General Manager of a basketball team. This is real life. You just heard a General Manager say publicly at a press conference ‘We had a better deal two days ago’. You moron! You can’t say that! ‘Oh why didn’t you wait till Thursday?’ ‘Oh cause we had a better deal two days ago?’”
Ross: “It was getting worse”
Barling: “Are you serious? Bro... I don’t even know what to say. If you’re a Kings fan, you should absolutely be embarrassed by that. That was awful. That was absolutely awful. You cannot do that. You can’t do that. Awful. That’s awful dude. Absolutely incredible”
However, Barling was not on today’s show, and his co-hosts Jason Ross and Ken Rudolph briefly came on the air to announce that Barling had been suspended over his comments. They denounced the station’s censorship of Barling then signed off.
KHTK has a very close relationship with the Kings, as they have radio rights to Kings games. Several KHTK employees also work for the team, including play-by-play man Grant Napear (who loved the Cousins trade). For their part, the Kings have categorically denied having anything to do with Barling getting pulled off the air.
The Sacramento Bee reports that Barling is not formally suspended, although it’s not clear when he’ll return to the air. Back in 2012, the station fired an employee after he was critical of the Maloof family, and he was later re-hired after they sold the team. KHTK did not respond to a series of requests for comment, and we’ll update this post if they do.
Update, 8:12 p.m. EST: KHTK’s program director Kevin Sherrets sent Deadspin the following statement.
We respect the right of all of our on-air hosts and employees to voice their professional opinions on a range of topics; however, we do not condone malicious personal attacks on or from anyone. Comments of that nature do not reflect the views or sportsmanlike conduct of this station.