By now you all probably know that our very favorite Tennis Channel commentator, Justin Gimelstob, talked some major trash on the radio about Anna Kournikova, calling her a “douche,” saying he wants his little brother to “bang” her, and boasting that he’ll make her cry next time they face each other in World Team Tennis competition. Click here to find the audio clips from the radio show (6/18, segments 5- 8.)
Uhh, Justin, this is the kind of thing that you don’t even save for your blog (keep it to yourself perhaps, or your therapist)! It’s obviously a pathetic cry for attention, now that Justin’s come to the full realization that his media career is shaping up to be as mediocre as his on court one. You’ve all seen his appalling Tennis Warehouse commercial, right? Raise your hand if you feel sorry for this guy. . .
Anyways, there has been loads of public outcry from the tennis-loving/Gimel-hating public, prompting Billie Jean King’s WTT to suspend him for a match without pay (click here for details) and Tennis Channel to post the following statement on their website. Click here for the original:
Justin Gimelstob addresses his recent error in judgment and promises to learn from his mistakes.
6/25/2008 3:35:00 PM
On Monday, June 23, Tennis Channel became aware of inappropriate comments made by our longtime on-air host, reporter and analyst Justin Gimelstob, during a radio interview the previous week. Justin’s remarks were not made on Tennis Channel’s air or Web site, or as part of a network-related or arranged function, but as a player in conjunction with an upcoming competition. Still, he is an ongoing member of our broadcast team, and we extend our sincere apologies to those who may have been offended by his comments. There is simply no place in our Tennis Channel family for language that is derogatory or dismissive of women. This is especially true with regard to tennis which, perhaps more so than any other sport, stands so integrated and squarely upon the contributions of women, many of whom have broken significant ground for equality and helped to tear down traditional societal barriers between the sexes.
We know Justin is well aware of this and embraces the role of women in our sport. We do not believe that his recent comments are indicative of the person we have worked with and grown to know for close to five years. However, while we accept Justin’s apology as genuine and remorseful, we have reprimanded him and asked him to make a substantial financial contribution to The Women’s Sports Foundation, which he has agreed to do. He is also aware that behavior of this sort, regarding anyone, can never happen again, and has assured us that it will not. His apology is below.
I want to apologize for remarks I made last week on “The Junkies” radio show. There is no excuse for my actions and I am extremely disappointed in myself. I take full responsibility for all the words spoken, and, while I can’t take any of them back, I hope my heartfelt remorse can begin to heal any wounds I have caused. I do not feel that the views I expressed last week accurately represent the person I am or strive to be; however, I well understand how and why they offended so many people. Among the targets was Anna Kournikova, not to mention a general disregard and disrespect toward women. They all deserve and have my deepest apologies. While I see how it could be otherwise implied by my remarks, I assure you that I have the utmost respect for all women. I recognize that my access to communicate to the public should be used in a positive way, and this was clearly not the case last week. In addition, I have a responsibility to the numerous outlets that trust me to inform, entertain, and educate their viewers and listeners. I failed them. I am truly sorry. While I well understand and believe that my future actions will speak louder than today’s words, as a small symbol of my contrition I will be making a donation to The Women’s Sports Foundation, which works to expand opportunities for girls and women through sports and physical activity. Again, nothing but time and positive actions can take back my misguided words, however I hope at least some good can come from my mistakes. I know I have learned a great deal from this and I can promise nothing similar to my previous remarks will ever be said again. Sincerely, Justin Gimelstob
Here’s Anna’s response, while on a World Team Tennis conference call with the media.
Q. I read recently in, I believe the Washington Post, Justin Gimelstob with the Washington Kastles, recently said some kind of nasty things about you on a talk show. He called you a few unmentionables, and later said some things that made you cry during the match and served into your body. What are your thoughts on this tirade?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Well, I have no clue. I’m kind of sorry about this, but I really don’t want to get into any of the off-court stuff. I’m just gonna kind of take the high road and not get into this discussion.
You know, WTT is not about those sorts of things, it’s about keeping it fun and positive, and really the game of tennis, playing for the fans. So I really don’t want to get into any of those discussions. I really am not paying attention to that, and I don’t want to give it any more significance than it has already received.
So. . .what do you all make of this? Does the punishment suit the crime? Did Gimel get off easy? Is this a whole lotta hubbub about nothing? I think he’s scared sh*tless right now, praying that the paychecks don’t stop. Good.