August 17, 2010
As Minnesotans revel in Favre-a-palooza, the sequel, sports fans in another state are watching a sports circus with a more disturbing ending.
On Monday, an Arkansas radio reporter was fired for wearing a Florida Gators hat to a press conference with University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino. Renee Gork, a Florida alum, drew Petrino’s ire at Saturday’s presser. After answering a question from Gork, Petrino said, “And that will be the last question I answer with that hat on.”
Watching the video, it’s not clear whether Petrino was joking or whether there was an edge of seriousness in his tone. I don’t know him well enough to make that kind of judgment on his vocal inflection. But two days later, Gork was fired from her job at station KAKS, “Hog Sports Radio.”
Ultimately, the blame for this ridiculous decision rests with station management. I don’t know whether they got some pressure from the Razorback football program or if they just decided to root out the “traitor” in their midst.
But given that Petrino makes nearly $4 million a year and Gork was probably pulling down $30,000 at most, it’s a cruel, gutless and baffling move to cut loose a young woman in the worst job market in decades to avoid ticking off a coach who will likely collect his outsized paycheck for a couple more years and then move on.
If Petrino has any common decency he’ll be calling for the reporter’s reinstatement.