One day after WKYC-TV announced that Bernie Kosar would be replaced in the broadcast booth for the Browns preseason games by Solomon Wilcots, the legendary quarterback spoke out, saying he believes he's been removed because of slurred speech he attributes to concussions sustained during his playing days.
"I believe that this decision stems from my slurred speech impairment, which is a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL," Bernie Kosar said.
We caught up with former Brown Bob Golic during his radio show at WNIR. He weighed in on the Kosar color commentator controversy.
"Being there thinking you're on top of your game and they're making a change that's like getting pulled out of the game. And there's not a guy that's played sports his whole life that's going to stand for that," said Bob Golic.
Kosar had been the color analyst for the games, and was at times controversial, with harsh comments for both the home and visiting team, but was also incredibly insightful.
"He's a true Clevelander and it's kind of sad to hear the loyalty is being treated like this," said a Cleveland Browns fan.
"Being able to share these preseason games with my fellow Cleveland Browns fans is truly one of the remaining joys in my life. I would hope that WKYC would reconsider utilizing my in-game talents and overlook my concussion-induced impairment. I want everyone to know that I still bleed Brown and Orange," added Bernie Kosar.
WKYC president Brooke Spectorsky said on Thursday that the station stands by its decision and released the following statement:
"First of all, we love Bernie, and we're grateful for the role he has played in our broadcasts over the last 8 years.'' Spectorsky said. "Nowhere in our discussions with Bernie or the Browns has anything ever been said about his speech impairment due to concussions. That has simply nothing to do with our decision. The Browns are rebuilding their team, and in reviewing our programming we've decided to rebuild as well. We felt there was a better role for Bernie than doing just four preseason games and we completely understand Bernie's iconic status with Browns fans. I know Bernie has made statements that he felt that these moves were due to his speech issues, and I reiterate that is not the case.
We have essentially done the same preseason programming for the past 8 years. It's about the production of the games and our wish, after careful discussion with the Browns, about changing up the production to give a new perspective in our coverage,'' Spectorsky said.
"The goal both for the Browns and for Channel 3 is for Bernie to have a bigger role in all of the new Browns programming that's being done, meaning TV, radio, and on-line. It can be a much more valuable role and will enable him to stay involved for a larger part of the season,'' Spectorsky said. "The Browns and I met personally with Bernie and talked to him about all of that. It's in Bernie's hands and he knows exactly what we're talking about. There's lots of room for discussion for his roles in the upcoming season and we hope he'll decide to remain an integral part of the new programming efforts across multiple platforms."
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