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Cut the Man Some Slack April 17, 2008

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

A lot has been made in several places about NBC’s coverage of last Sunday’s loss to the Flyers. The major hullaballoo has centered around one of the announcers using the word “Crapitals.” Ted Leonsis has said he forgives the guy, and he’s satisfied with the outcome. Some quarters of the fan base, however, refuse to be satisfied.

Back in my college days, I majored in Communications, and I spent a lot of time behind the mic, doing radio shows. And, speaking as someone who’s been behind more than one mic in his day, I gotta say it: Cut the man some slack, already.

When you’re live and on the air, everything you say goes out all over the place the second it leaves your lips. When I was on the air at WHFC, and later on WTMD, I put a lot of pressure on myself to get everything as accurate as I possibly could. That meant looking up pronunciations of the artists’ names, pre-reading my PSA copy, and having every song cued up and ready to go well before it was time to punch it in. And when that mic was live, that meant getting in, saying what I had to say, and getting out. Even in my senior year at college, I always got a little bit sweaty-palmed before I miked in at a PSA break. My motto was, if you’re too comfortable, you’re going to make a careless mistake on the air.

But despite all my show-prep, despite working like a madman in the studio when it was my show, and despite my best attempts to make everything perfect, occasionally, I’d make a mistake. These were almost always harmless mistakes–forgetting to bulk-erase a cartridge before re-recording it, for instance–but a mistake is still a mistake. But, you know something? It’s part of the human condition. Humans are humans, and mistakes happen.

Do I approve of this team being called the “Crapitals” live and on national television? No, I don’t. Not in the least. But I do know that until they get angels into the sportscasting racket, that mistakes are going to be made in live telecasts. And when you make a mistake, sometimes you can try to recover and end up digging yourself a deeper hole, which is what happened here.

Let it go, Caps Nation. It was a mistake, albeit admittedly a very, very stupid one. But some are clamoring for an on-air apology during this Saturday’s telecast. I’d welcome one if it were made, but I’m not going to permanently blacklist any broadcaster (or network) for what seemed to be an honest on-air slip-up. I’ve made mistakes behind the mic, as well, and I can tell you from personal experience that being live on the air can sometimes catch you saying something stupid.

Let it go, folks. It’s hard enough being a sportscaster without an entire team’s fan base demanding your head on a platter for an innocent on-air mistake and instinctive overcorrection.




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