The Southeastern Conference and SEC Network issued statements Sunday condemning offensive comments made by college basketball analyst Barry Booker during a Saturday telecast.
Booker was commentating on an SEC Network game between Missouri and Arkansas. After a promotion for upcoming SEC gymnastics meets during the game coverage, Booker described the female gymnasts.
“Go hang out with the ladies,” Booker began, “I mean, I want to go see some scantily clad girls.”
Fellow announcer Richard Cross then noted that gymnastics meets have “one of the great family atmospheres that you will find in all of college athletics.” Booker continued that he’d be watching the meets from his hotel room in an attempt to promote SEC gymnastics.
Messages made by USA TODAY Sports to the SEC regarding potential punishment for Booker were not immediately returned. The league said in its statement that the matter would be “handled appropriately.”
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey condemned the comments in the league’s statement, noting “the SEC’s women’s gymnastics student-athletes deserve our support for many reasons” and that Booker’s comments were “inappropriate and do not meet the expectations we have for the SEC network.”
The SEC Network, owned by ESPN, also issued a statement.
“The comments made during yesterday’s telecast were inappropriate and unacceptable,” the network said Sunday. “We take this matter seriously and are addressing it internally. SEC Network respects all student-athletes, and is committed to showcasing women’s sports with the utmost regard.”
Booker, a longtime SEC analyst and former star player for Vanderbilt in the late 1980s, was caught on camera giving a producer the middle finger during a 2014 game.
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