Greg Anthony’s second act in sports broadcasting begins on Saturday.
Turner Sports would not elaborate on whether this meant Anthony is back in the fold for the longterm, but it is clearly an entrée to getting reps again as an NBA studio or game analyst. Spokespeople for CBS Sports and Turner Sports said that they would decide together if Anthony would work the NCAA tournament again. As of this writing, no such decision has been reached. Anthony declined to comment beyond a statement he released to Sports Illustrated via Turner Sports.
“I’d like to thank my family for their continued support,” Anthony said. “I’m looking forward to returning to my role as a basketball analyst and I’m grateful to Turner Sports and the NBA for this opportunity. ”
The backdrop for all this: On. Jan. 16, Anthony was arrested at a Washington D.C. hotel on suspicion of trying to hire a prostitute who was an undercover D.C. police officer. The Washington Postreported in February that Anthony reached a plea agreement in which he was required to perform 32 hours of community service and not get arrested for any other violations. If he adhered to those stipulations, prosecutors would then agree to dismiss the misdemeanor case. TMZ Sports reported the case was dismissed June 11, and a Turner Sports rep also said that all the aspects of Anthony’s deferred prosecution agreement had been fulfilled.
Asked in January by SI.com how he viewed a possible return for Anthony, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said that he was sticking with the CBS Sports and Turner Sports statement at the time that Anthony had been suspended indefinitely. Asked why CBS and Turner had suspended Anthony indefinitely as opposed to fixed amount of time, McManus said, "I think on this one I’m going to stick with just our statement and nothing else at this point."
Given the arrest and charges, CBS and Turner Sports brass had little choice to remove Anthony from its college basketball coverage. In addition to calling games during the NCAA tournament, CBS Sports and Turner Sports announcers perform high-profile public appearances at such events. Having Anthony there with solicitation charges over him would have been a p.r. headache. There was also the advertiser element. Some brands would be very uncomfortable with Anthony calling games in the near-term. Thus, there was very little debate between the top executives at both networks regarding the decision, and CBS Sports and Turner Sports were bailed out by Bill Raferty being a ready-made and popular fit on the top game announcing team.
But there was always a road back for Anthony to broadcasting because he was well liked at both networks internally, with a reputation of doing all sorts of events (media and otherwise). He was also contrite upon the arrest and stayed below the radar afterward.
"I made a mistake," Anthony told the Associated Press after his arrest. "With this lapse of judgment, I embarrassed many, including myself. I will work to regain the trust that I have lost, and the first step is saying that I am sorry."
The road back to working as an NBA commentator—one should presume the NBA signed off on Anthony calling Summer League games—will be much easier for Anthony than returning to college basketball. But today’s news makes clear his employers did not close the door on him for good.