May 06, 2003

Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan on Jason Kidd's wife Joumana: "I'd like to smack her." Somebody really should knock some sense into that guy.

posted by rcade to basketball at 05:10 PM - 28 comments

Gee whiz, someone besides an athlete has a taste for the spotlight and poor misogynistic Bob Ryan doesn't like it. Oh how sad for him! Does this rise to the Eustachy/Price level, the Trent Lott level, or just the Santorum level? Ryan's been around for years but is it time for him to slink out of the building?

posted by billsaysthis at 05:23 PM on May 06, 2003

Personally, I'd like to smack him for being an idiot.

posted by grum@work at 05:31 PM on May 06, 2003

And no, I don't take that back.

posted by grum@work at 05:31 PM on May 06, 2003

He'll issue some very public apologies (to Joumana Kidd, to Jason Kidd, to women...), he'll go underground for a few weeks (TV and radio-wise), Martha Burke will demand he be fired and in a month, status quo. This type of rhetoric probably came as no surprise to New Englanders, although you'd have to wonder why the guy didn't take the immediate opportunity to hoover his comment back up.

posted by kloeprich at 05:41 PM on May 06, 2003

I'm sure this has been said before, but my God PLEASE get the kid and the wife off TV! They are getting close to Doug Christie's wife in the Unwelcome Addition to the Team category. I cringe when I see Dusty Baker's son singing over the P.A. system in Chicago. Ryan's comments were totally inappropriate, but so is any superstar's desire to thrust his family members into the spotlight.

posted by dusted at 07:12 PM on May 06, 2003

I think it was an unfortunate choice of words but his point remains, and dusted and I agree with him. He already apologized for the use of smack, given the previous domestic abuse charge... I'm a bit more thick skinned though so I hear something like that and think of it in the "she's annoying" sense rather than the "I want to literally hit her" I don't mind Bob Ryan. His job is to be obnoxious and opinionated, and he does it pretty well. I certainly like him more than some of the idiots on PTI2 or whatever it's called (Around the Horn)

posted by Bernreuther at 07:16 PM on May 06, 2003

For the record, I don't think there is anything wrong with the family being at the game. What IS wrong is that the television producer in the control booth is a lazy sumbitch if he keeps going back to show the family all the time. "Okay and cut to" "That's the one with the family. We showed that last break." "Fuck it. I don't know what else to show. Show them again. Maybe she'll be giving the kid a sno-cone or something."

posted by grum@work at 08:36 PM on May 06, 2003

Globe suspends him. He apologizes. I watched it Sunday night. It was fun to see Bob Lobel become unhinged a bit. The comment got my attention, that's for sure, but I didn't take it as some underlying woman-abusing desire from Bob Ryan. I took it as one of those aggrandized statements like, "I am so mad I could just kill someone". Quite simply, it seems he engaged mouth before activating brain in an asshole attempt to be edgy and exciting for TV. I can understand that. I can also understand the Boston Globe's need to discipline him as he is a mouth piece for the Globe, not to mention it's parent company, the New York Times and all the ad revenue involved in both of those papers. We've all used hyperbole in conversation, but he's on that public platform and his words reflect that of his employer... blah blah blah. All Boston media figures are obnoxious... except Jerry Remy. After this incident, I understand a bit better why some of the Red Sox are refusing to talk to the media this season.

posted by jerseygirl at 09:47 PM on May 06, 2003

Honestly, I hate thinking this could be me channelling the PC police but if Ryan pays no price from this kind of comment (and I see from jerseygirl that he is), then we'll never stop. And not everyone will hear it in the sense that bernreuther suggests. Violent language, to a certain degree, begets violent action.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:13 PM on May 06, 2003

I haven't been watching much of the playoffs, so I don't know how much Jason Kidd's family has been shown on camera. However, if it's anything like Kurt Warner's wife during the last Rams playoff run, Martin Brodeur's wife during the Stars/Devils cup, or any other show-the-family Kodak moment, how can you possibly blame the family? It clearly sounds like the work of a producer who believes they need to go after casual fans and non-fans with human interest stuff, a la the Olympics. As much as I like more by-the-numbers sports coverage, I'm not against the policy if the wife is hot.

posted by rcade at 08:07 AM on May 07, 2003

I like Ryan, he's a big stupid talking head, just what a sportswriter should be, so of course bonehead statements come with the territory.

posted by corpse at 08:54 AM on May 07, 2003

Bob Ryan is the best the Globe has left. I hate to see him on TV because it's just not him. He winds up saying stupid stuff like this in an effort to be heard above the din. I didn't see the original statement because Bob Lobel's constant bandwagon jumping makes me dizzy, but I took it much like Bernreuther when I read about it (here.). Unfortunately, if you don't know Bob Ryan (as 99% of America doesn't), you'd assume he was another mindless sports blatherer. He's definitely not and his larger point is correct: there's something troubling (to biased Boston fans anyway) about the incessant need to have Kidd's wife in the front row. How many other atheltes' wives are in the front row? Any? At least Doug Christie's got a solid relationship with his wife. Joumana Kidd is a constant reminder of the horror of domestic violence: he beats me but I still love him. Given that problem, Ryan's comment/ refusal to back away was unforgivable. Grum, I have to disagree about Joumana's visibility being the producers' fault. Beyond the front-row mugging where she misses no opportunity to stick her kid's over-sized head (someone had to say it) into the camera, she's also trying to break into reporting, working the sidelines for the NBA All-Star game. She has every right to try, but I dunno what makes her more qualified than hundreds of other people trying to break in as sports reporters.

posted by yerfatma at 09:41 AM on May 07, 2003

As I said, I haven't watched the games. How is her great-seat camera hog behavior any better/worse than Spike Lee or Jack Nicholson? Part of NBA lore is the well-known fans who get face time on camera. The idea that some people deserve this attention and others don't seems bizarre.

posted by rcade at 10:08 AM on May 07, 2003

"I dunno what makes her more qualified than hundreds of other people trying to break in as sports reporters." Have you seen how hot she is? I think that is the only qualification needed to get a tv gig. Look at the 'Dog Eat Dog' host. No major previous experience, gets to host a prime-time show, and adlibs as well as a trained parakeet.

posted by garfield at 10:34 AM on May 07, 2003

How is her great-seat camera hog behavior any better/worse than Spike Lee or Jack Nicholson? Didn't say it was. But they're actually famous for something— famous enough they don't need to wave a baby around for attention. It doesn't really matter: if the Celtics somehow manage to beat the Nets and Kenyon Martin breaks both legs, Boston fans will stop being annoyed with her. She's seeing a lot of displaced anger from Ryan, Celts fans and me.

posted by yerfatma at 11:08 AM on May 07, 2003

I have no problem with family members being at the game, or with them being shown on TV occasionally. However... Joumana Kidd and Doug Christie's wife aren't content with just being there: they have to insert themselves into the action. When they repeatedly stick their mugs front and center during a playoff series, they're going to catch crap, and I don't know why anyone is surprised. Sports fans are emotionally attached to their team. If I were a Celtics fan I'd have a Joumana Kidd voodoo doll. And by constantly putting their (4 year-old!) son's head on TV, they're exposing him to ridicule, however misplaced it may be.

posted by dusted at 12:11 PM on May 07, 2003

Blame it on the media, or blame it on the parents, but this kind of media coverage of a kid is out of control.

posted by dusted at 12:25 PM on May 07, 2003

If I were a Celtics fan I'd have a Joumana Kidd voodoo doll. Haha =)

posted by justgary at 12:30 PM on May 07, 2003

her kid's over-sized head

"Would ya look at the size of that kid's head! It's the size of a planetoid and it has its own weather system! Looks like an orange on a toothpick!...He'll be crying himself to sleep tonight, on his huge pillow." -- Mike Myers
Have you seen how hot she is? I was trying to research this vital issue, and I was rewarded with a giant picture of Ernest Borgnine. (Apparently she's in a movie with him.)

posted by kirkaracha at 04:23 PM on May 07, 2003

What's worse: Bob Ryan exercising his first amendment rights and exaggerating that (i.e. "I'm gonna kill you for that!") she should be smacked, or Jason Kidd smacking his wife, barely getting a smack on the wrist, and then acting like everything's hunky-dory? If NBA players were suspended for a month for every offense of theirs comparable with that of Ryan's, the league would shut down. Ryan is one of the best sportswriters in the country. Bar none. He slipped up on TV, and even that's highly debatable. This wasn't misogyny, this was hyperbole. Anyway, Ryan's been banned from TV and the newspaper, but they said nothing of the Internet. The door is open, Bob. Come join the staff of my Boston Sports Blog.

posted by Conquistador at 09:42 PM on May 07, 2003

I don't think it's debatable at all -- he joked about wife-beating in reference to a victim of domestic violence. If that doesn't constitute slipping up, what does? The guy definitely deserves to sit on the sidelines for a while savoring the taste of his own foot.

posted by rcade at 10:14 PM on May 07, 2003

He didn't joke about wife-beating at all as I understand it: he said "I'd like to smack her" or some variation on it. Like Conquistador said above, what's worse: Jason Kidd's actions or Bob Ryan's statement? Should Ryan do jail time for saying that? Send in Tom Cruise and the Pre-Cogs if we're now judging people on their thoughts and words.

posted by yerfatma at 06:18 AM on May 08, 2003

Ryan became a big-name sports columnist and TV pundit because of his thoughts and words. It's hardly "Tom Cruise and the Pre-Cogs" for him to be held accountable by his employers because of his thoughts and words. As for comparing the offenses, how is that germane? No one is suggesting he should be jailed or that he can be compared to an actual domestic abuser. Ryan himself admits that he screwed up. The month-long suspension is harsh, but I can't blame his employers for punishing him in some fashion.

posted by rcade at 09:45 AM on May 08, 2003

Amazing that most people deal with what Ryan said as being the offense rather than Jason Kidd's actions. Ryan was using hyberole and got caught up in the moment. And he's paying for it. I think the real reason people are attacking Ryan is that what they don't hear or see, they don't have to deal with. He brought an uncomfortable topic back to the surface. It's actually a sad commentary on our society when words catch more heat than the actions that prompted a woman to call 911 because she feared for her life. The SECOND you bring the police into your private life, it becomes public record. Now imagine if one of your spouses or girlfriend was so afraid of you that they felt the need to lock themselves in a bathroom and dial 911. I'd still be apologizing AFTER I seeked counseling.

posted by usfbull at 10:59 PM on May 08, 2003

Much to consider, usfbull... I don't necessarily agree with the idea that Ryan was actually advocating violence on Joumana Kidd -- or anyone -- but it's not that difficult to understand the reaction and I wouldn't exactly call it a commentary on anything. The NBA has one set of rules. The Boston Globe has another. Bad behavior doesn't reflect on NBA teams, so long as people put the ball in the hole. Whether you write well or not, saying dumb shit reflects negatively on a news orgainization. In particular, the Globe already had ethics scandals in recent years, so the last thing it needed was another PR hit. I think Lobel's "are you sure" questioning was intended to help Ryan. Instead, it elevated the comment from typical Ryan crank-dom to an implicit Globe seal of approval for any harrassment to come to the Kidds, no matter how improper. And I don't think it's necessarily true that Kidd is catching less heat than Ryan, lest anyone forget last year's Celtics-Nets games at Fleet. People still remember, and your point could be the reason why the Kidds have been kinda calm throughout this particular episode. As for the 911 phone call, Kidd caught less heat two years ago probably because it happened in Phoenix, a relative outpost, in the same way that Ryan's comments would be a blip if he was in Portland. Keep in mind that the Suns more or less fired Kidd, sending him to the worst team they could find while also getting anything of value in return. (Even though Marbury's played well this year, the Suns knew they were going to get beaten badly on that deal.) In that context, I don't think the guy got off scot free. By the time he became an MVP candidate for an NYC area team, he'd gotten his act together and his wife had forgiven him. (Far as we know.) People wanted to talk about what a shithead he'd been before, and the couple was pretty forthright about what all went on. So after that, I kinda wonder what else you think Kidd should do? Even if you think Kidd is a jackass, I wonder what would be the Globe's excuse if it allowed it from one of its most visible stars. The more the merrier?

posted by jackhererra at 05:32 AM on May 09, 2003

It's actually a sad commentary on our society when words catch more heat than the actions that prompted a woman to call 911 because she feared for her life. Where do you get the idea that Jason Kidd got less heat two years ago than Ryan is today?

posted by rcade at 09:39 AM on May 09, 2003

Here is a picture of Jason and Joumana from the 2000 SI Swimsuit Issue. Enjoy.

posted by blarp at 12:45 PM on March 23, 2004

Damnit, this column is 10 months old. Oops.

posted by blarp at 12:49 PM on March 23, 2004

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