Iowa radio broadcaster suspended after 'King Kong' comment

Bruno Fernando (23) drives past Iowa guard Connor McCaffery during the second half of Tuesday night's game.
Caption
Bruno Fernando (23) drives past Iowa guard Connor McCaffery during the second half of Tuesday night's game.

Credit: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Credit: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

A basketball radio play-by-play announcer was suspended for the rest of the season Friday after he compared an opposing black player to King Kong, the Quad City Times reported.

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Gary Dolphin, who calls University of Iowa basketball games, was suspended for his Tuesday night comments, when he compared University of Maryland player Bruno Fernando to the fictional gorilla from the 1933 movie.

Fernando, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound center, scored the game-winning basket on a tip-in with 7.8 seconds to play, giving Maryland a 66-65 victory against the Hawkeyes.

"That's some pretty good long-range shooting. Fernando was King Kong at the end of the game," Dolphin said, according to KCCI, which obtained an audio of the broadcast.

University officials supported the suspension, saying in a statement that “The University of Iowa athletics department values diversity and is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all members of its campus community.’’

Kameron Middlebrooks, president of the Des Moines NAACP, called Dolphin's comments "inexcusable language," KCCI reported.

Dolphin, who has called Iowa football and basketball games for 22 years, issued an apology in a statement, the Quad City Times reported.

“During the broadcast, I used a comparison when trying to describe a talented Maryland basketball player. In no way did I intend to offend or disparage the player," Dolphin said. "I take full responsibility for my inappropriate word choice and offer a sincere apology to him and anyone else who was offended. I wish the Iowa Hawkeye players, coaches and fans all the very best as they head into the final stretch of the season. I will use this as an opportunity to grow as a person and learn more about unconscious bias."

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