An Iowa broadcaster was suspended Friday for the rest of the season for referring to University of Maryland basketball forward Bruno Fernando as “King Kong” during a recent game.
Gary Dolphin, a fan favorite who is the University of Iowa’s football and basketball play-by-play man, came under fire after he said on Tuesday that Fernando, who is black, “was King Kong at the end of the game.”
Fernando had 11 points and 11 rebounds including a go-ahead putback with 7.8 seconds left, to help No. 24 Maryland beat Iowa 66-65 on Tuesday night in Iowa City.
Hawkeye Sports Properties, the multimedia rights manager for Iowa Athletics, announced Dolphin was suspended Friday just hours before the 21st-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes hosted Indiana.
This is not the first time Dolphin was suspended this season. In November, he was criticized after he was captured on an open microphone criticizing Iowa guard Maishe Dailey in a win over Pittsburgh in late November.
During the broadcast and “what was supposed to be a commercial break, Dolphin told analyst Bobby Hansen, “We get Maishe Dailey. Dribbles into a double-team with his head down. God,” Hawk Central reported.
Coach Fran McCaffery called Dolphin’s comments about Dailey “inexcusable”. Following his comment, Dolphin sat out for two games.
Jim Albracht will replace Dolphin for the rest of the season.
Dolphin released a statement Friday, apologizing for his comment.
“During the broadcast, I used a comparison when trying to describe a talented Maryland basketball player. In no way did I intend to offend or disparage the player,” he said. “I take full responsibility for my inappropriate word choice and offer a sincere apology to him and anyone else who was offended. I will use this as an opportunity to grow as a person and learn more about unconscious bias.”
Iowa’s athletic department released a statement supporting Dolphin’s suspension, saying it “values diversity and is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all members of its campus community.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
By Kathleen Joyce