Marv Albert, Sexual Assault, And Separating The Voice From The Man
Marv Albert recently signed a multi-year contract extension to call NBA games for TNT, it was reported by Awful Announcing today, meaning that the 74-year-old will make it to his 50th year of broadcasting sometime in 2018. It's reported that the deal is for at least two years.
These days Marv is pretty much up there on the broadcasting summit with Vin Scully and a few others -- I actually saw the Scully comparison today on a site that will remain nameless. Perhaps the author is too young to recall 1997, when Marv was embroiled in a huge sexual assault scandal that nearly, and should have, snuffed out his career for good. He pleaded no contest to the assault, and wriggled free without serving jail time. And less than two years later, he was back on national TV.
It's hard to believe that we're coming up on the 20th anniversary of all that, and that Marv is now revered as if none of it ever happened. Most think of him as the Voice of the NBA, and the guy who brought us the Albert Achievement Awards on two shows with David Letterman -- who was, by the way, largely responsible for resurrecting Albert's career.
Albert was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2015, which must have an Oral Assault Wing. I've always wondered if his toupee is on display there.
Here's what happened: In May of 1997 Albert was arrested in Arlington, Va., on charges of forcible sodomy and assault following an incident on Feb. 12 of that year in Washington, D.C., where he was in town to call the Knicks-Bullets game for NBC. A woman, Vanessa Perhach, who had known Albert for 11 years, said that Albert assaulted her at a D.C. hotel. The charges carried a maximum of life in prison.
Albert is also accused of biting the woman "15 to 20 times." He had also requested she bring another male for a threesome. Albert later admitted to all of this, but said that the sex, and the biting, was consensual.
After the arrest, Albert held a press conference to proclaim his innocence, then left without taking questions. NBC, his employer at the time, decided to stick with him.
But things quickly began to unravel when Marv's name turned up the black book of a murdered dominatrix named Mistress Hilda. Virginia prosecutors then announced that DNA tests linked Albert to the bite marks on Perhach (Albert had not admitted to biting anyone at this point).
On Sept. 22, 1997, the trial began. Excerpt from testimony:
A. He would, like — he wanted me to find a male with a large penis.
Q. And did you all ever get together with a male?
Q. How did you find these men?
A. The first person was staying at the hotel that I was staying. And he was an attractive airline pilot.
But the trial came to a screeching halt when another woman, Hyatt Hotels concierge Patricia Masten, testified that she, too, had been assaulted by Albert. And this was the infamous testimony in which she said that, when Albert was forcing her into oral sex on him, that his toupee lifted off. The prosecution made a big deal of this for some reason, claiming that it never happened. But Masten stuck to her story.
Albert, knowing the jig was up, immediately took a plea deal. This is the most shameful part. In exchange for pleading no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge, the forcible rape charge was dropped. Albert got a 12-month suspended sentence with no jail time.
NBC fired him, as did MSG. He didn't work for a year.
But he slowly made a comeback. After the initial tumult died down -- an appearance on Letterman helped break the ice -- he eventually got a job calling Knicks games on MSG Radio. Then, almost two years after the conviction, NBC hired him back -- to the disgust of the women involved in the trial, and many others.
The years moved on and Albert moved from NBC, which ended its NBA contract in 2002, to TBS, where he works to this day. He also calls NCAA Basketball Tournament games, and occasional other sports. There's actually a generation of fans who know little or nothing about his past. Because who brings it up? His voice sounds good. Bob Costas has called him the best basketball announcer in the business.
Most of Albert's story is a sleeze-fest, and this is near the top of the list: after accepting the plea deal, he went on TV (Barbara Walters, etc.,) and tried to impugn the reputation of the accusing women, desperately attempting to repair his brand. It wasn't enough to sexually assault the two women (the court's determination, not mine), but he felt he had to verbally assault them on national TV as well.
So now here he is, a 74-year-old with a contract extension and his dental records on file with the Virginia prosecutor's office. He now lives in kind of a Kobe Bryant netherworld of adulation and court-ordered good conduct. Marv Albert is back at the top of his profession, leaning toward a microphone, inviting himself into our homes nearly every night. But forgive me if I don't let him in.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Betting Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.