Iowa broadcaster suspended for 'King Kong' reference

Longtime Iowa Hawkeyes radio broadcaster Gary Dolphin has been suspended for the rest of the basketball season after making a reference to "King Kong" when describing Maryland star Bruno Fernando in a recent broadcast.

Dolphin made the comments while wrapping up Tuesday's 66-65 Maryland win over Iowa. Fernando scored the go-ahead basket with 7.8 seconds remaining.

"Twelve 3s on 22 made baskets. That's some pretty good long-range shooting," Dolphin said on the broadcast alongside analyst Bobby Hansen. "And then Fernando was King Kong at the end of the game."

Learfield, which owns Hawkeye Sports Properties, announced the suspension Friday, and Iowa's athletic department issued a statement supporting the decision.

"During the broadcast, I used a comparison when trying to describe a talented Maryland basketball player. In no way did I intend to offend or disparage the player," Dolphin said in a statement. "I take full responsibility for my inappropriate word choice and offer a sincere apology to him and anyone else who was offended. I wish the Iowa Hawkeye players, coaches and fans all the very best as they head into the final stretch of the season. I will use this as an opportunity to grow as a person and learn more about unconscious bias."

Dolphin also was suspended two games earlier this season after making disparaging comments about Iowa player Maishe Dailey on a live microphone during the broadcast of the Hawkeyes' game with Pittsburgh.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta has acknowledged there is tension between Dolphin and coach Fran McCaffrey, who called Dolphin's comments in November "inexcusable." Dolphin apologized for his comments later during the Pitt broadcast.

Dolphin has broadcast Iowa basketball and football for the past 22 years.