College Basketball Broadcaster Suspended for Accidentally Mocking Team's Performance On-Air

Iowa Hawkeyes commentator Gary Dolphin received a two-game suspension after making mocking comments during what should have been a commercial break

Photo: Gary Dolphin/Facebook

Longtime Iowa Hawkeyes play-by-play commentator Gary Dolphin received a two-game suspension after making mocking comments about the team on-air during what should have been a commercial break, PEOPLE can confirm.

As the Hawkeyes took on the Pittsburgh Panthers on Tuesday, Dolphin criticized the strength of some of Iowa’s players, unaware that listeners could hear his conversation with broadcast partner Bobby Hansen.

“How do we not get anybody like that?” Dolphin said, according to USA Today, in reference to some of the opposing team’s freshman players. “It’s just year after year after year. Go get a quality piece like that. Just get one! They’ve got three or four.”

At the time, Pittsburg was leading the game 46-40, according to the Iowa Gazette.

Dolphin also went on to call out Iowa junior guard Maishe Dailey, saying that the player “dribbles into a double-team with his head down. God,” according to the outlet.

Although Hansen participated in the discussion, he was not suspended.

Iowa went on to win the game, continuing their undefeated streak this season.

Learfield Sports Properties, which is responsible for broadcasting Hawkeye games, announced on Wednesday that Dolphin would be suspended from the next two broadcasts — as the team takes on Wisconsin on Friday and Michigan State the following Monday.

“Gary knows we are extremely disappointed in the comment [Dolphin] made about Maishe Dailey and the impact his remark had on our players and staff. The two-game suspension is a result of those comments, as well as some ongoing tensions that have built up over the past couple of years,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in the statement, which was obtained by PEOPLE. “This time away from the microphone will allow a chance to work through some of these issues. I truly appreciate the time and energy Gary puts into promoting Hawkeye Athletics. I’m extremely proud of our student-athletes and coaches’ great start to the season. All focus and attention is on beating Wisconsin Friday night.”

“We unfortunately encountered a technical error at our network broadcast operations center that allowed off-air comments to be aired during a portion of the first-half commercial break,” added Learfield Vice President-Broadcast Operations Tom Boman. “We thoroughly reviewed the situation here at our Broadcast Ops center to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and we’ve also been communicating closely with Gary Barta and his administration, the entire broadcast team and our local Hawkeye Sports Properties staff.”

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The release also contained a portion of the apology Dolphin made following the game, after he was made aware that his comments had been heard.

“We want to offer a public apology, and it won’t happen again. You have to assume there’s an open mic all the time, and that is no excuse. We said it. We own it. So our sincere apologies on behalf of the Hawkeye Radio Network to Coach McCaffery and his team,” the longtime commentator said on the Hawkeye Radio Network.

Hawk Central also reported that following the game, Dolphin explained his remarks, saying that “we want them to win so bad, sometimes we get frustrated when they’re not playing well in certain stretches.”

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