CLEVELAND, Ohio — Bernie Kosar is fighting back after being replaced on preseason broadcasts, saying he believes the decision stems from his speech impairment.
The Browns and WKYC announced Wednesday that they are “revamping” their broadcast team and that another former NFL player, Solomon Wolcotts, will replace Kosar as color commentator this season.
They said in a statement that Kosar will have some role in Browns programming.
Thursday, Kosar reacted with a statement of his own.
He said he was informed Wednesday of the decision, and said he believes it stems from his “slurred speech impairment, which is a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL.”
He also said in the statement:
“This is very unfortunate, as I believe my football acumen and ability to describe what is happening on the field, has been well received by Cleveland Browns fans. I love to put the personal touch, pride in the Browns, and pride in our Cleveland community into the broadcast. Being able to share these preseason games with my fellow Cleveland Browns fans is truly one of the remaining joys in my life. I would hope that WKYC would reconsider utilizing my in-game talents and overlook my concussion-induced impairment. I want everyone to know that I still bleed Brown and Orange.”
In yesterday’s release, the Browns stated:
“We welcome Solomon and are excited to look further into additional opportunities to continue to engage Bernie with our fans. We want Browns fans to look forward to seeing and hearing his continued contributions and analysis on not only our preseason telecasts, but also our radio network and ClevelandBrowns.com.”
WKYC issued the following statement Thursday:
“First of all, we love Bernie, and we’re grateful for the role he has played in our broadcasts over the last 8 years,” said WKYC President and General Manager Brooke Spectorsky. “Nowhere in our discussions with Bernie or the Browns has anything ever been said about his speech impairment due to concussions. That has simply nothing to do with our decision. The Browns are rebuilding their team, and in reviewing our programming we’ve decided to rebuild as well. We felt there was a better role for Bernie than doing just four preseason games and we completely understand Bernie’s iconic status with Browns fans. I know Bernie has made statements that he felt that these moves were due to his speech issues, and I reiterate that is not the case.
We have essentially done the same preseason programming for the past 8 years. It’s about the production of the games and our wish, after careful discussion with the Browns, about changing up the production to give a new perspective in our coverage,” Spectorsky said.
“The goal both for the Browns and for Channel 3 is for Bernie to have a bigger role in all of the new Browns programming that’s being done, meaning TV, radio, and on-line. It can be a much more valuable role and will enable him to stay involved for a larger part of the season,” Spectorsky said. “The Browns and I met personally with Bernie and talked to him about all of that. It’s in Bernie’s hands and he knows exactly what we’re talking about. There’s lots of room for discussion for his roles in the upcoming season and we hope he’ll decide to remain an integral part of the new programming efforts across multiple platforms.”
For more on Kosar, click here.