Say what you will about the contentious nature of modern sports debates shows. None of the manufactured drama you see will ever come close to the infamous TV moment in 1994 between NFL quarterback Jim Everett and radio host Jim Rome.
On this day in history, April 26, 1994, Everett — then quarterback of the Saints — shoved Rome out of his chair on live TV after the latter insulted him in person for his infamous “Phantom Sack” in the 1989 NFC championship game between the Rams and 49ers. Rome had made fun of Everett for five years at the time of their interview, which lasted less than two minutes.
In the “interview,” which aired on ESPN2’s “Talk2,” Rome immediately and continually called Everett “Chris,” referencing women’s tennis player Chris Evert. The obvious insinuation, of course, being that Everett was less of a man for the play. Everett gave Rome ample warning to knock it off, but the latter just couldn’t keep his mouth shut.
“I think that you probably won’t say it again,” Everett warned.
“I bet I do — Chris!”
The rest, as you know, is history:
Neither Everett nor Rome were injured in the scuffle, which didn’t result in any legal action. Rome publicly apologized to Everett afterward and, to his credit, called it an embarrassing moment in his career. Which it was.
Rome has had several other heated conversations over the years, but he at least appears to have learned the lesson not to antagonize his guests to the point of physical confrontation. Especially when that guest is a 6-5, world-class athlete.
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