Ryan and Morrow suspended by ABC

Veteran ABC sports commentator David Morrow. Photo: Supplied
Veteran ABC sports commentator David Morrow. Photo: Supplied

The veteran ABC radio commentary team of David Morrow and Warren Ryan have both been suspended from calling games as their station's management investigates allegations that a racist remark went to air last week.

The investigation was launched on Wednesday as a result of complaints made by listeners after last Friday's call of the Sydney Roosters-Canterbury match.

Ryan, a premiership-winning coach, was alleged to have used the term "old darky"  late in the second half to emphasise a point.

The 74-year-old was heard to say:  ''There's a line in a movie where the old darky says, someone says, 'quittin' time'.

''He said, 'it's not quittin' time. I say quittin' time.' Then he yells out, 'quittin' time!'

''In other words you mustn't do that, that's our job.''

ABC management released a statement on Friday to confirm the pair had been stood down.

Morrow was being investigated as to why he found Ryan's narrative to be humorous.

"Pending the completion of an investigation into a reference made by Warren Ryan during the Roosters v Bulldogs NRL match on Friday 23 May, the ABC has suspended both Warren Ryan and David Morrow with immediate effect," the statement said.  "Both have been asked to submit a formal response regarding the matter. Until the investigation is complete, no further comment will be made."

Richard Svenson and former NRL player Matt Head were appointed to fill-in to call Friday night's match between Penrith and Parramatta while caller Brad Cooke and former Canterbury winger Steve Turner would call Saturday's match between the Sydney Roosters and Canberra.

Morrow, one of the nation's most experienced sports broadcasters, was also suspended by ABC management last year after a joke described as racist unintentionally went to air.

Ryan was warned by management last month to be more thoughtful after he rebuked a female colleague, former South Australian netballer Shannon Byrne, on air after she expressed an opinion in her role as a sideline eye that contradicted his.

"It's interesting, a netballer telling me about frontline defence. Fascinating," Ryan said.

Ryan earned the wrath of some listeners on that occasion and he was warned by the head of ABC Grandstand Craig Norenbergs that such outbursts would not be tolerated in the future.


This story Ryan and Morrow suspended by ABC first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.