Legendary Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar has been dumped from the team’s preseason TV broadcasts. He wants back in.
The folks who yanked him off the air say it won’t be happening.
“No, the decision has been made,” president and general manager of WKYC-TV Brooke Spectorsky told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We feel it’s a very good decision for our viewers and for our production. We have to freshen things up too as the team is changing. It’s a whole different year going forward, and I didn’t want to do the same old production I’ve done for so many years.”
Spectorsky rejected the claim that the decision flows from Kosar’s concussion-related slurred-speech impediment.
“First of all, we love Bernie,” Spectorsky said. “Nowhere in our discussions has anything been reviewed about his impairment due to concussions or whatever. That has nothing to do with it. What it has to do with is that the Browns are rebuilding their team, and in reviewing our programming, we’re changing up an awful lot of our programming, and we felt there was a better role for Bernie doing other things than just doing four preseason games.”
Spectorsky claims Bernie actually will be doing more, not less, now that he’s out of the booth. (That’s also known as the “Jaworski scenario.”)
“Bernie having a bigger role in all of the new Browns programming that’s being done, meaning TV, radio, online, is a much more valuable role and will enable him to stay involved for a longer part of the season,” Spectorsky said. “We’ve talked to him about all of that. It’s in Bernie’s hands. The Browns were here and I was here and he knows exactly what they’re talking about. There’s lots of room for discussion if he wants to do something else, except he’s not going to be the color analyst on preseason games.”
Yep, it sounds like Kosar is getting a promotion. Which in turn sounds like Spectorsky and the Browns are trying a little too hard to justify the move.
The concern likely isn’t litigation. As demonstrated by Bill Livingston’s column in Friday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, it’s the fans. They love Kosar like a family member, and they’re still largely ambivalent about the guy who bought the team nearly two years ago.
WKYC now hopes the fans will take to Solomon Wilcots, who will handle the analysis of the Browns’ preseason games. Last year, he worked six Browns regular-season games for CBS.
“We felt that Solomon would bring a different level to the team and we wanted more continuity between the preseason games and regular-season games,” Spectorsky said.
But there’s no guarantee Wilcots will work many (or any) Browns games in 2014 and beyond. Especially if the new-look Browns are successful and their games end up being handled by crews that rank higher on the CBS broadcasting priority.
Besides, Wilcots isn’t a Brown. During his six-year NFL career, the closest he came to being a Brown was being a Bengal and a Steeler. Which actually will make it worse, not better, for Browns fans.
So it’s one thing to remove a beloved former player from the booth. It’s another to replace him with a guy whose only connection to the team is that he once played them twice per year with two of the Browns’ arch-rivals.