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Outside The Confines: We need to talk about Kevin

The Orioles set a dangerous precedent for what their broadcasters can say.

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Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Are MLB broadcasters required to be unquestioning fans of the teams they work for? Should a broadcaster not be allowed to criticize a team, or make observations about poor performance? That shouldn’t be a question. While a broadcaster for daily play is generally counted on to be upbeat, there shouldn’t be a requirement for them to say only positive things.

In a recent game, Orioles’ broadcaster Kevin Brown made some relatively tame comments about the team’s recent poor performance against the Rays. Orioles management apparently took umbrage with this, and this week Brown was unceremoniously suspended from his role. Yes, you heard that right, a broadcaster was suspended for making a mere observation. A correct observation.

This sets a dangerous precedent for teams to retaliate against their broadcast staff for simply talking honestly about how a team is and has performed. If teams feel emboldened to do this, how can broadcasters feel free to speak, and how can journalists not begin to worry at what point teams might start limiting access to those who don’t write positively about the team? It’s a slippery slope and one MLB shouldn’t allow the Orioles to take.

Here’s more on the suspension:

  • Gary Cohen didn’t mince his words about the suspension either.

And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.