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Why does Jim Gray ALWAYS seem to find controversy?

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To nobody’s surprise, sportscaster Jim Gray has ticked someone off.

Again.

This time, Gray has been “removed” from coverage of the Northern Trust Open on the Golf Channel  because he got into a verbal argument with Bobby Brown, golfer Dustin Johnson’s caddy.  Last summer, Gray got into it at the PGA Championship with golfer Corey Pavin over comments Gray made about Tiger Woods.

Self respect is a wonderful thing. In my humble opinion, sportscasters shouldn’t have to take any nonsense from these spoiled, overpaid superstars who (most of them) have no firm grasp on reality.

In saying that, Jim Gray usually digs his own grave.

I know there are people saying that Gray should be vindicated for his beyond-aggressive approach towards Pete Rose during the 1999 World Series in Atlanta by trying to get him to confess he bet on baseball. After all, Rose was indeed lying, and his admission on national television would have allowed him to keep any self respect the former Phillie had left.

No way. Anyone who knows yours truly understands my mixed emotions towards one of my childhood heroes, but Rose was ambushed. What was supposed to be a great night for baseball turned into a very uncomfortable moment that damaged Gray’s reputation and rightfully so. Gray wanted the scoop of a lifetime, but there is a time and a place for everything, and that was not it. I was in my apartment in college watching this, and even I was squirming at those questions right along with Rose.

 

 

 Then there was the time when Gray infuriated Dennis Rodman during the 1997 NBA Finals to the point of tears  in regards to some comments Rodman made about the Mormon Religion.   
 

 Who is he trying to be, Barbara Walters?Jim Gray and Barry Bonds Photo: Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. www.zimbio.com

I can’t say for sure whether Gray has a close relationship with Barry Bonds, Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James, but I do know he seems to be right there to get first dibs on interviews with them.

Kind of ironic when you’re associated with the previously mentioned athletes who all have less than stellar reputations in one form or another (more particularly Bonds and Bryant. James is just a greedy sellout) and your reputation has become as snarky as Gray’s.  

 

 

Who knows? Maybe I’m out of line here. After all, Gray was ranked by late Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Halberstam as one of the 50 Greatest Sportscasters of All-Time.  His resume is impressive, having covered almost every major sporting event with the exception of the Stanley Cup. 

Perhaps a more interesting question is whether Gray is highly regarded in the broadcasting business because of his demeanor, which has attributed to his success? Or is he simply a good journalist who seems to wind up in a storm of controversy wherever he goes?  I've personally never met the man, but Gray doesn’t project himself as a very likable guy. More like someone you knew in high school who you wanted to put in a locker (and believe me, I was NOT Mr. Popularity in high school, so that says something coming from me.) Just watch the following clip when Gray interviewed James Toney upon defeating Evander Holyfield and you'll see what I mean.

 

 

Personally, I think good journalism should speak for itself, but that’s way too boring. Either way, you can rest to sure that despite this recent episode, Jim Gray will continue to do what he does.

For better or for worse, it probably got him where he is today.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Jim Gray and Barry Bonds Photo: Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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