Thursday, August 29, 2002

Apparently ESPN is just barely more popular than Steve Spurrier with folks in the Volunteer State. According to the LA Times,

ESPN has stopped a commercial that angered some Tennessee fans.
The commercial showed Lee Corso, one of the "College GameDay" analysts, waiting for an elevator. The doors open and the elevator is filled with orange-clad Volunteer fans. A pig runs out and an overweight woman holding another pig and wearing a shower cap and robe yells, "Come here, Rocky Top!"
An elderly man wearing shorts and hooked up to an IV bottle is shown with a couple kissing in the back of the elevator. A sign mentioning Tennessee alumni is also visible.

The Tennessee football office said it was swamped with calls from fans upset about the commercial.

Relations between ESPN and the school have been strained since 1997 when fans accused ESPN of campaigning for Michigan's Charles Woodson over Tennessee's Peyton Manning in the voting for the 1997 Heisman Trophy.

The Nashville Tennessean reported that the outrage turned nasty at times and that Chris Fowler, the host of GameDay, described the reaction of Volunteer fans on a national radio show as "trailer park frenzy." He later apologized.

In 1999, an report alleged academic improprieties within the football program. The GameDay crew is scheduled to air its show from the Knoxville campus on Sept. 21, when the Volunteers play Florida, and Nov. 9, when Tennessee plays host to Miami.


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