IS THIS THING ON?

Harden played so poorly, a Rockets broadcaster accidentally spoke the truth

We've seen this before. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

Lesson No. 1 – on the first day of freshman Broadcasting 101 – if there's a microphone within a thousand yards of you, assume it's "hot" and don't say anything stupid.

Wednesday night, during the Houston Rockets post-game show on AT&T SportsNet, veteran (and we do mean veteran, as in 35-plus years on the air), Calvin Murphy offered a backhanded compliment to brooding Rockets star James Harden. Murphy commented that while Harden had a poor shooting night, he "did the right things getting everybody else involved." True, Harden dished out 12 assists despite scoring only 15 points on 5-14 shooting, including a disinterested 4 points in the closing quarter.

Then, as the post-game show went to a commercial, and thinking his microphone was off, Murphy muttered, "He (Harden) quit," with clear disgust in his voice.

The Rockets lost 114-107 to the Indiana Pacers, with Harden on the floor in crunch time.

In defense (a word rarely associated with The Beard), Harden dearly wants to be traded out of Houston. A good way to convince your employer to say goodbye is to go home early on work nights, which is what Harden did Wednesday.

It wasn't the first time a Rockets broadcaster dissed Harden this season. Earlier, after Rockets new star Christian Wood drove coast-to-coast for a spectacular lefty layup, Bill Worrell shouted, "Who needs James Harden?"

Worrell later covered his poop by saying he meant that Wood didn't need to outlet the ball to Harden on that play.

Blurting out something dumb is a time-honored tradition in broadcasting, dating back to the early days of radio. Murphy should be comforted by the fact that hot-mic blunders typically aren't career killers.

Last year, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were caught mocking military flyovers during nearly empty stadiums during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aikman said, "That's a lot of jet fuel to do a little flyover." Buck responded, "That's your hard-earned money and your tax dollars at work." To which Aikman punctuated, "That stuff ain't happening with (a) Kamala-Biden ticket. I'll tell you that right now."

Neither was punished, both still at work. Regrettable comments certainly aren't limited to sports. Idiocy has always felt more at home in politics. Two examples:

In 2010, a hot mic caught Joe Biden whispering in President Obama's ear, "this is a big f------ deal during the Affordable Care Act signing ceremony.

A few years ago, Donald Trump was caught bragging he could "grab 'em by the p----."

Both were elected President of the United States. I don't think Murphy will lose his job over Harden "quit," especially since he did.

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