Griese suspended for Montoya ‘Taco’ remark

UPDATE #4 NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya has checked in with the tweet of the day on Twitter. Montoya was out having a taco–that's in fact what he's doing. Montoya tweeted on Thursday afternoon: “Guess what I'm having for lunch…..TACOS!!!!!….and I'm serious about it!!!!"

10/26/09 ESPN college football commentator Bob Griese was suspended for one game for a comment made on the air Saturday that Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver Juan Pablo Montoya was “out having a taco," the network confirmed Monday. The game Griese was scheduled to work Saturday had not been determined. He will not work any game this coming weekend.

10/26/09 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta said it was “unfortunate" that ESPN college football commentator Bob Griese’s comment on the air Saturday that EGR driver Juan Pablo Montoya was “out having a taco.".
Griese later apologized for the comment he made about the Colombian driver during the Ohio State-Minnesota college football game Saturday. During the telecast, ESPN did a promo for the Sprint Cup race Sunday on ABC. The promo mentioned the top five drivers, prompting announcer Chris Spielman to ask where Montoya was in the standings. Griese, an NFL hall of famer, responded that the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver “was out having a taco."

Griese apologized later in the telecast and then again on ESPN later that night.

“It’s unfortunate that he would make such a comment," Lauletta said. “Obviously he has apologized. I haven’t talked to Juan about his feelings about it."

An EGR spokesman said that Montoya would not comment on it before the race today and the issue was not expected to be addressed during the race telecast Sunday on ABC.

Lauletta said Montoya has been accepted by NASCAR fans since coming to the sport three years ago and he was unaware of any similar incidents or comments.

On Saturday, ESPN released a statement that Griese “understands that his comment was uncalled for."

During halftime of the Florida-Mississippi State game Saturday night on ESPN, Griese, on the phone, read a statement:

“Earlier today on our game, I made an offensive comment regarding Juan Pablo Montoya as part of a NASCAR promo," Griese said. “It was regrettable and I should not have said it. I really enjoy NASCAR, and I follow it closely, and would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Juan, NASCAR and everyone else who heard my comment."

10/25/09 Last Saturday afternoon there was a rather interesting, not to mention eyebrow raising, comment made during ABC Sport's college football game of the week that involved both a NASCAR race and driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

In the middle of a live national broadcast of a game between Ohio State and Minnesota, the members of the ABC broadcast team were asked to do a promo for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville-Virginia which was going to be broadcast live by ABC the following afternoon.

This promo involved a review of the top five drivers in NASCAR's Chase For The Sprint Cup. Football analyst Chris Speilman noted that Juan Pablo Montoya was no longer in the top five and asked where he was. Fellow analyst Bob Griese quipped "he's out having a taco."

Apparently some executive network suit got a little nervous about the comment and was likely worried that Griese's remarks might turn into an avalanche of protests from the PC, (politically correct), people.

Towards the end of the football game Griese issued the following statement: "Juan Pablo Montoya is one of the best drivers in NASCAR. I just want to apologize for the comment I made earlier in the ballgame."

Was Griese's comment necessary? No, it wasn't

Was it appropriate? Again, no.

Was it politically correct? No, it wasn't.

Do they even have taco restaurants in Montoya's home town of Bogotá, Columbia, South America? I honestly don't know.

Was the comment funny? At the risk of being clobbered by emails form the PC crowd, hell yes it was funny and so was Griese's lame apology at the end of the ballgame. Based on Montoya's well known wry sense of humor I'm thinking he was laughing too.

Is there a gesture that could turn a perceived negative into an absolute positive? Why yes, there is. It just so happens that the NASCAR race at Martinsville was sponsored by Tums the maker of those little tablets that magically soaks up stomach acidity from food indulgences such as the chipotle sauce often poured on tacos. It also turns out that Tums is an associate sponsor of Montoya's Chevrolet.

If I were Juan Pablo Montoya I would consider sending a case of Tums to ABC Sport's College Football Division with a nice note that reads: "thanks for the shout out guys, I hope you're stomachs are feeling better." by Dave Grayson

10/24/09 ABC college football analyst Bob Griese apologized Saturday a comment he made about NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya during the network's broadcast of Ohio State's 38-7 victory over Minnesota. The network was promoting its broadcast of Sunday's NASCAR race from Martinsville while showing the top five drivers in the Sprint Cup Series standings on screen. Fellow broadcaster Chris Speilman asked where Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya was (Montoya dropped from the top five after finishing 35th last week at Charlotte). Griese replied, "He's out having a taco." As the game neared its end, Griese offered an on-air apology. "Juan Pablo Montoya, he's one of the best drivers in NASCAR," Griese said. "Just want to apologize for the comment I made earlier in the ballgame." USA Today

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