IOWA CITY – The voice of Iowa Hawkeye basketball and football, Gary Dolphin, has been suspended once again this season, this time after praising an opposing player for soundly defeating the Hawkeyes with play rivaling the fictitious character King Kong.
In a statement released Friday, the University of Iowa athletics department said it “supports Hawkeye Sports Properties decision to indefinitely suspend radio play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin. The University of Iowa athletics department values diversity and is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all members of its campus community.”
After Maryland defeated Iowa days ago in a basketball contest in which Maryland’s Bruno Fernando was out-playing the Hawkeyes and had the deciding put-back basket in a game in which he dominated inside, Mr. Dolphin compared Fernando’s playing efforts to that of “King Kong”. Fernando is a large, powerful young man of African-American ethnicity who played with much intensity in the game.
Later, it was announced that Mr. Dolphin went too far in his accolades in using the “King Kong” reference and he was suspended indefinitely – likely for the rest of the season and perhaps permanently.
Dolphin was suspended earlier this basketball season after criticizing the play of a guard who he claims routinely puts his head down and dribbles into defensive double teams.
The reaction to the suspension has been swift and polarizing. A fan reportedly attended Friday night’s Iowa game versus Indiana dressed in a Dolphin costume.
Former Iowa standout and Charles City basketball star Greg Brunner sounded off, tweeting, “So, when a broadcaster describes a white basketball player as ‘sneaky athletic, blue collar worker, deceptively fast, very cerebral, high basketball IQ, or the other hilarious adjectives,’ Why is that ok? I see both sides of the Dolph situation, but this is a double standard…… the context was similar to saying, ‘monster in the paint.’ But, I would agree everything is time and place – not time or place for comment regardless of context.”
Many other fans lashed out via social media at the suspension, while a few others were supportive. Most appeared to take Mr. Dolphin’s side in the matter.