Mike Soltys, ESPN vice president of U.S. Network Communications, acknowledged in an email the case suit was settled out of court on Thursday and terms were not announced. Franklin could not be reached for comment.
Franklin, 69, had specialized in Big 12 football and basketball for ESPN. He provided play-by-play for “Big Monday” basketball broadcasts from 1992 to 2009. His two-year contract, which ran through 2012, called for him to broadcast 35 sports events per year.
Franklin had filed suit against ESPN and ABC in Austin, Texas, in January 2011, accusing the company of violating his contract by firing him after a contentious conversation with sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards in an Atlanta hotel lobby before the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The suit, which alleged breach of contract, was filed on behalf of Franklin's company, Ron Franklin Productions.
Franklin is said to have addressed Edwards as “sweet baby” when she attempted to join a conversation about a non-work-related matter and, after she objected to the phrase, he replied, “Do you want me to talk ugly to you, like ‘(bleep)?'”
The lawsuit alleged that Franklin's comments during a “brief and innocuous conversation” did not warrant dismissal because they did not violate the failure to perform clause of his contract, the Houston Chronicle reported.
According to the suit, that clause lists lack of preparation and acts of “moral turpitude” and acts that would result in “public humiliation to ESPN” as grounds for dismissal.