Iowa Basketball Radio Announcer Gary Dolphin Suspended for Season for King Kong Reference

Iowa radio announcer Gary Dolphin has been suspended for comparing a Maryland basketball player to "King Kong."
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Iowa radio play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin has been suspended indefinitely for the remainder of basketball season after referring to a player as "King Kong."

Gabe Aguirre, vice president and general manager at Hawkeye Sports Properties, made the announcement on Friday.

"Hawkeye Sports Properties, the multimedia rights manager for University of Iowa Athletics, today announced it has suspended play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin indefinitely through the remaining basketball season. The decision follows an inappropriate comment made by Dolphin during Tuesday’s broadcast of the Iowa men’s basketball game against Maryland," Aguirre said in an emailed statement, per The Gazette.

Maryland beat Iowa 66–65 on Tuesday night thanks to Terrapins forward Bruno Fernando's tip-in with 7.8 seconds left on the clock. Fernando is a 6'10", 245-pound freshman from Angola. After the game, Dolphin compared Fernando to King Kong.

"Twelve threes on 22 made baskets. That’s some pretty good long-range shooting," Dolphin said. "And then Fernando was King Kong at the end of the game."

Color commentator Bobby Hansen replied, "Yeah, he was. And they had done a really good job, Gary, for the most part rebounding."

Hanson and Jim Albracht will serve as radio announcers for the remaining Iowa men's basketball games this season, according to The Gazette.

Dolphin also issued a statement to apologize to Fernando and take responsibility for his comments.

"During the broadcast, I used a comparison when trying to describe a talented Maryland basketball player," Dolphin said, per The Athletic's Scott Dochterman. "In no way did I intend to offend or disparage the player. I take full responsibility for my inappropriate word choice and offer a sincere apology to him and anyone else who was offended. I wish the Iowa Hawkeye players, coaches and fans all the very best as they head into the final stretch of the season. I will use this as an opportunity to grow as a person and learn more about unconscious bias."

Iowa's athletic department issued a statement to say it supports Dolphin's suspension, according to the Associated Press. The department also said it "values diversity and is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all members of its campus community."

Dophin was suspended earlier this season for criticizing Iowa's recruiting and backup guard Maishe Dailey when he thought the broadcast was on a commercial break.