Paul Azinger has never been one to shy from expressing an opinion, even those of a political nature, but in doing so on Thursday, he ran afoul of his employer, ESPN.
Azinger took a dig at President Obama in this Twitter post:
It spread rapidly across the Internet, often with "ESPN analyst" mentioned in the headline, prompting USA Today blogger Michael McCarthy to query Andy Hall of ESPN Communications about it. Hall's response: "Paul's tweet was not consistent with our social media policy, and he has been reminded that political commentary is best left to those in that field." McCarthy went on to ask Hall whether Azinger would be "fired, suspended or punished in some way." Replied Hall, "We handle that internally."
This in turn sparked Dana Loesch of Big Journalism, and later Andrew Malcolm of the Los Angeles Times, to question whether ESPN had a double standard, depending on which side of the political spectrum its employees fall on. "I wonder if [Kenny] Mayne was ever threatened with his job over his antics," Loesch wrote.
In June, ESPN's Mayne posted this on Twitter:
So we emailed Hall with this question: Based on your statement about ESPN's social media policy, was Mayne similarly reprimanded?
Hall's reply: "Thanks for asking - at the time, Kenny Mayne was reminded about ESPN's social media policy just as Paul Azinger was in this instance."
-- John Strege