A 15-year-old Ohio boy serving as play-by-play commentator for a high school football game received death threats and subsequent discipline from his school after he imitated sportscaster Gus Johnson during an on-air broadcast last Thursday.
According to the Sandusky Register, the boy reacted to a run from a Haitian player on the opposing team by saying, "he’s got that getting-away-from-the-cops speed," a line originally said by Johnson during a 2009 broadcast to describe a run from Chris Johnson in a Tennessee Titans-Jacksonville Jaguars game. Johnson later apologized for using the line, but it was subsequently included in Madden NFL games.
The boy's comments prompted people to make death threats against him, and the high school administration decided to take action as well. According to the report, the school district's superintendent, Ed Kurt, said the boy has been "disciplined," but he wouldn't give further details, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act:
"We worked with the student, and we hope this is a learning experience. We want to move forward in a positive fashion.”
The boy's parents are currently seeking legal advice as to whether to sue the school and/or those who made the death threats against their son. Authorities are reviewing the threats, many of which were made on Facebook, and they will take action against any that they feel pose a credible threat, according to the Register.
As the report points out, sports broadcaster Howard Cosell had received criticism in 1983 after he said on-air, "that little monkey gets loose," a comment he made about Alvin Garrett, an African-American wide receiver with the Washington Redskins.
Footage of Johnson's call: