Jim Gray Crosses the Line Yet Again: Will There Be Justice This Time?

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIFebruary 19, 2011

Perhaps it was because he was the one sitting next to LeBron James during the PR debacle that was "The Decision" that we hoped Jim Gray would just go away.

Maybe it was after he lost his cool and had it out publicly with Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin during a finger-pointing incident last fall that we hoped he would finally disappear from our television sets.

Or it could just be that over the years his insistence to make himself the story over what he is actually supposed to be covering has just gotten to be too much.

Whatever the reason, many have privately wished this nosing reporter/commentator would just go away. And now, it appears finally he may have to do just that.

During the opening round of the Northern Trust Open on Thursday, golfer Dustin Johnson nearly missed his tee-time. He barely made it, but was given a two-stroke penalty.

Gray had the kind of idea only he could come up with. Scoop the story before anyone else. And how would he do this?

Well, you have to try and think like Jim Gray for a second. If you were the most annoying man in television, who would do anything to be the story, what would you do?

Of course! You'd ask Dustin Johnson himself, right in the middle of his round.

Gray's  decision to confront Johnson during the long walk from the 13th green to the 14th tee, where he had camped himself waiting for Johnson and playing partner Steve Stricker to walk up, has gotten him a reprimand from his employer, the Golf Channel. Gray was removed for Friday's coverage.

"Our aim is to provide the best possible golf coverage for our viewers," Golf Channel spokesman Dan Higgins said in a statement. "In order not to provide further distraction, we've decided to remove Jim from the particular assignment."

Dustin Johnson's caddie, Bobby Brown, took the blame following the round, saying he had the tee-time wrong. Brown then proceeded to start telling about his frustration with Gray for asking Johnson about it during the round. Gary actually walked up as Brown was speaking, and Brown then went after Gary himself.

"Dude, you can't come up like that in the middle of the round. It had taken us 13 holes to get over that, and then you bring it up again," Brown said to Gray.

That, I think, is really what gets to the heart of the matter here in understanding what Jim Gray did was truly wrong and crossed the line.

You cannot alter a sporting event, especially a game like golf, which depends as much on what is happening to a golfer between his ears as it does with what he does with his body. It is a game of confidence, thinking clearly and trying to play without distractions. Shutting out the outside world is a huge part of what these guys try and do out there.

When someone from that outside world, especially someone working for the Golf Channel who should know better, suddenly presents themselves into the middle of that story, it is troubling at the least.

Jim Gray has once again tried to make himself the story, this time at the expense of Dustin Johnson's first round at this golf tournament.

Here's to hoping the powers that be see this for what it truly is, a violation in the relationship between athlete and reporter, and that Gray is given more than just one day off.


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