WASHINGTON — Two Washington D.C.-based radio announcers were suspended Tuesday following a brief, on-air apology for remarks made during a broadcast last week in which they referred to a transgender female basketball player as “he/she” and “it.”
WTEM Radio, branded as ESPN 980, said Tuesday afternoon it had “temporarily removed” hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin for the disparaging remarks directed at Gabrielle Ludwig, 50, a transgender basketball player for Mission College in Santa Clara, Calif.
Ludwig was the subject of a lengthy article that appeared inUSA Today last Wednesday, prompting an on-air discussion the following day between Pollin, Czaban, and Maryland basketball analyst Chris Knoche.
Pollin introduced the segment talking about the USA Todaystory, and when he revealed that Ludwig was transgender, Czaban audibly groaned, after which the three discussed Ludwig’s appearance and mocked the picture of her that appeared with the article.
Later in the segment, Czaban said, “Don’t go playing sports saying ‘But I’ve got the rights of everyone else.’ Yeah, you’ve got the rights to live as a human being, you know, with other people respecting you and everything else, but athletics is different.”
From the broadcast:
Czaban: ”What’s the net net of the story? Because I’m not going to read it.”
Pollin: ”Well, the net net is, you know she’s … she/he has had a lot of problems in his/her life…”
Czaban: ”I think it is the politically correct term…”
Pollin: ”…Whatever it is, and this basketball is helping him/her transform his/her life into a better life, such as it is.”