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How Much Glitter in All That Gold? : There’s This Rumor About This Rumor About . . .

Times Television Critic

What I must do today gives me no pleasure. It surely doesn’t.

But a reporter’s job is to report. So. . . .

There is a slimy story out that two sportscasters are irresponsible jerks.

Their identities have not been revealed because to do so would unfairly discredit them without proof. But those who accept the premise of local sportscasting being a field whose participants are beholden to innuendo and unconfirmed rumor point first to the great Keith Olbermann at KCBS-TV Channel 2 and the great Fred Roggin at KNBC Channel 4.

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I just love these very funny guys and I’m suffering here, really suffering, because smearing good people without proof just devastates me. But what can I do? I’m helpless in this matter. You can see that, can’t you?

I agree it’s shocking that rumors should taint these two great supercasters just because they were allowed by their news directors to use their air time Tuesday to repeat--and expand on--snide hearsay that American gold-medalist sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner had used banned, body-enhancing steroids en route to her record performance in Seoul.

According to the rumors about Olbermann and Roggin--and let me repeat that these rumors that sully their reputations, hurt their families and possibly damage their livelihoods are unconfirmed--they’ve undergone meanness-enhancing changes.

Roggin has undergone these changes since becoming the top sportscaster at Channel 4 and Olbermann just prior to joining Channel 2 a month ago.

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In comparing Olbermann on the air today with the way he looked in a photograph when he was at Channel 5, for example, I noticed a startling transformation. The mustache he once dropped has mysteriously reappeared. The sinister sneer seems to belong to another person.

The identity of that other person has not been revealed. But there’s an unconfirmed and utterly sleazy rumor that Olbermann--and I really love this guy who I’m slurring--is actually Morton Downey Jr. But I have too much integrity to repeat such vicious innuendo.

Again, the identities of the sportscasters rumored to be irresponsible jerks have not been revealed. But doubtless, you have already asked yourself, are they Olbermann and Roggin?

The timing would be right.

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Keith and Fred--let me emphasize that these are two beautiful guys--are in a tight battle for the title of funniest sportscaster in L.A.

This curiously unnatural, speeded-up enhancement of their shoddy and untrustworthy reporting could be their way of cutting corners under the pressure of competing to be the funniest. If so, their news directors--Erik Sorenson at Channel 2 and Tom Capra at Channel 4--would be equally culpable.

But that is merely speculation. The identities of the irresponsible jerks will be announced later.

And . . . wait a minute . . . word is coming in now . . . an update . . . yes, here it is.

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Well, I’m thrilled to report that speculation about Roggin and Olbermann has been silenced by a new, authenticated report that the irresponsible jerks are actually Hungarian sportscasters.

What a relief, what joy it is for me to quell the foul rumors that I unconscionably helped fuel because it was my job. I had to do it. You understand that, don’t you?

Fair is fair, however. I will write letters of apology to Olbermann and Roggin if, by the end of their careers in Los Angeles, they do not turn out to be irresponsible jerks.

And I hope they don’t. I love these guys whose reputations I’ve besmirched. I’ll be the happiest guy if they don’t turn out to be irresponsible jerks. Really. Honestly. You can count on it.

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Or my name isn’t Joe Isuzu.


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