Canes analyst Thomas fired for comments during brawl

Updated: October 17, 2006, 1:55 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

MIAMI -- Former Miami player Lamar Thomas lost his TV analyst job Monday over comments he made during a sideline-clearing brawl involving the Hurricanes and Florida International.

Gene Wojciechowski's take
Gene Wojciechowski
Something has to change at Miami, beginning with the punishment. Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford meant well when he initially issued a one-game suspension for all 13 UM players involved in this disaster area, but the penalty was laughable. It isn't a slap on the wrist; it's a soothing caress and manicure.

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Bill Curry's take
Bruce Feldman's take Insider

More Audio
•  TV analyst Lamar Thomas tells the Dan Patrick Show he got "caught up in the moment" during the FIU-Miami brawl and doesn't condone fighting. ListenInsider

• Mike and Mike discuss the brawl and Thomas' unbelievable comments about what was going on. Listen

• Miami alumnus Michael Irvin says Thomas should be fired for his comments during the FIU-Miami telecast -- and says the incident adds to reasons why Larry Coker should be fired. Listen Insider

• David Albright and Ivan Maisel discuss what has, what is, and what should happen to Miami and FIU after the brawl. ESPNU College Football Insider

• Joe Schad talks about the Miami-FIU fallout and addresses some of the other hot topics in college football. Listen Insider

"We were disappointed in the incident that happened on the field and regret the way it was handled in the broadcast booth," Comcast Sports SouthEast general manager Mark Fuhrman said. "We do not support or condone the inappropriate comments made by color analyst Lamar Thomas and have taken the necessary steps to prevent a similar situation from ever occurring again."

CSS, a regional cable network that hired Thomas before the season, also decided to edit out his comments before the game is replayed later this week. The network, which is available in 5.5 million homes, will replay the game twice Wednesday.

Thomas made his comments as dozens of Miami and FIU players stormed the Orange Bowl field and fought during the third quarter of their teams' game Saturday night, an incident that led to the suspension of at least 31 players and forced officials from both schools to publicly apologize for the melee.

"Now, that's what I'm talking about," Thomas said as the brawl raged out of control. "You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. You don't come into the OB playing that stuff. You're across the ocean over there. You're across the city. You can't come over to our place talking noise like that. You'll get your butt beat. I was about to go down the elevator to get in that thing."

Monday, on the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio, Thomas said he got caught up in the moment as a former Miami player.

"Anybody who knows me knows I played the game of football with my heart on my sleeve," Thomas said. "Unfortunately for me during the fight I got a little hyped up. In no way do I condone fighting."

Miami and Florida International have campuses 9 miles apart in Miami-Dade County. It was the first meeting between the two programs, and the Hurricanes went on to win 35-0.

As the fight slowed, Thomas' comments continued.

"I say, why don't they just meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more? You don't come into the OB, baby," Thomas said. "We've had a down couple years but you don't come in here talking smack. Not in our house."

A tape of the fight, including Thomas' comments, was available on the Internet on Sunday and Monday. The game was available for viewing Saturday night on a pay-per-view basis.

"We do not support or condone any of the comments that were made by Lamar," Fuhrman said after the incident.

The comments will be edited out before the game is replayed later this week.

Thomas was a third-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1993 and spent six seasons in the NFL, three with the Bucs and three with the Miami Dolphins.

He has a Gainesville address, but there was no listed telephone number for him in that area. He could not be reached Monday.

Fuhrman said CSS consulted with Miami officials before determining what action needed to be taken. Miami recommends on-air personnel for its broadcasts, Fuhrman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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