July 05 - News Flash: OLN Fires Phil Liggett
Failed to Meet Contractual Obligation to Mention Lance Armstrong Three Times Per Minute, Sources Say
Paris, July 5 (Fat Cyclist News Service) - Outdoor Life Network today severed its contract with Phil Liggett, a perennial favorite cycling announcer both in England and in the United States. A spokesperson for Outdoor Life Network said, "We regret having to let Phil go, but he knew the terms of our agreement when he signed on. Namely, he is required to allude to Lance Armstrong three times per minute, with at least one of those mentions being by name. Most importantly, at no point in time shall forty seconds ever elapse without a mention of Lance Armstrong."
"Today, sadly, Mr. Liggett broke the terms of that agreement. When David Zabriskie had his unfortunate accident today, Phil failed for 40 seconds to put it in the context of whether this would impact Lance Armstrong or whether Lance Armstrong would would have fallen, or asking what Lance Armstrong must be thinking about this accident right that moment."
When reached for comment, co-commentator Paul Sherwin said, "I had my 'Lance Stopwatch' going -- it's what we use to help remind us when it's time to mention Lance again." Continued Sherwin, "When Zabriskie fell, Liggett started actually talking about how disastrous it was for the rider, instead of -- as is proper -- talking about this would affect Lance and how he would no doubt have words of advice on the proper way to ride a bicycle for young Zabriskie. When twenty seconds elapsed, I signaled to the timer. Then thirty seconds elapsed -- still no mention, so I made the sign of the Texas Longhorn, the code we use to signal that we need to immediately divert the conversation toward Armstrong. Still nothing."
Visibly shaken, Sherwin finished, "After forty-five seconds, Phil managed to bring the conversation back round to Armstrong, but by then it was too late. OLN Security was knocking at the door, ready to escort Phil from the premises."
Interviewed in his hotel room in Paris, Liggett looked like a man who has lost his best friend. "I'm a huge fan of Armstrong," said Liggett. "I haven't pretended to be impartial for years. But between Bob Roll and that marionette Al Trautwig, our Armstrong-centricism seemed pretty well covered, and I suppose I briefly let my guard down. I wonder what Lance Armstrong thinks about that?" Then, realizing the habit of mentioning Armstrong even when completely irrelevant was still with him, Liggett briefly looked melancholy -- which is the British equivalent of an American having a complete nervous breakdown.
OLN has moved swiftly to replace Liggett, putting former color-commentator Al Trautwig in his spot. Said Trautwig regarding his promotion, "Lance Armstrong. Lance Lance Lance Armstrong. Armstrong Armstrong Lance Lance Lance Lance. Six-time Tour de France winner. Lance Armstrong Lance Armstrong, Lance Armstrong."
"This is going to work out just fine," said the OLN spokesperson.
Ottawa Randonneur List
Harold Bridge forwarded this our way in August 2005. He had received it from C-KAP co-ordinator James Wilson, and it appears to have also passed through the hands of someone attached to the Ottawa randonneurs. No author is indicated.