ESPN.com Removes Criticism of Shannon Briggs from Dan Rafael Chat Transcript

Johnny WalkerCorrespondent IApril 30, 2011

Dan Rafael wishes Shannon Briggs had endured even more punishment against Vitali Klitschko.
Dan Rafael wishes Shannon Briggs had endured even more punishment against Vitali Klitschko.Al Bello/Getty Images

ESPN.com boxing scribe Dan Rafael and retired heavyweight ex-champion Shannon "The Cannon" Briggs have been engaged in a verbal war for the past couple of months, after Briggs launched a highly personal Twitter attack on Rafael, claiming that the popular journalist is unduly influenced by certain boxing figures and in his opinion, likely on the take.

Briggs also made numerous derogatory comments about Rafael's physical appearance, specifically targeting the writer's weight.

Rafael in return expressed irritation with Briggs, saying he needs to "watch what he says."

But this week, in his usual Friday afternoon chat session on ESPN, the boxing scribe went further.

"Briggs has made himself look like a fool in a lot more places than just twitter," Rafael replied to one commenter who had criticized Briggs' cyber-ramblings, but he didn't elaborate on this rather open-ended remark.

Later, Rafael chose to return to the subject, saying that after hearing Briggs' remarks about him, he wished that Briggs' fight against Vitali Klitschko, in which the Brooklyn native took a vicious, career-ending beating, "went 15 rounds," instead of the usual 12.

12 rounds of the pummelling from Klitschko was enough to put Briggs in a German hospital for two weeks.

Immediately after that last comment from Rafael, negative reaction developed, with one poster saying that that remark "wasn't very nice."

"It wasn't meant to be," Rafael curtly replied, before promptly ending the session, a move suggesting that perhaps many of the chat participants didn't approve of the verbal shot at Briggs.

Furthermore, the pointed barb about wishing Briggs had taken a 15-round beating, along with Rafael's clarification that he was serious, has now been excised from Friday's chat transcript by someone at ESPN.com. 

ESPN.com has so far given no explanation as to why the chat transcript has been censored. 

Briggs' Twitter account is now closed.