NEW YORK -- The New England Sports Network (NESN) released a statement Monday night offering an explanation why they chose not to air the Fenway Park video tribute to ousted broadcaster Don Orsillo during Sunday’s broadcast.
“Yesterday’s Don Orsillo tribute by the Red Sox was designed to be an in-ballpark celebration for the fans in attendance," the statement read.
“NESN already had separate plans underway to recognize Don during our last telecast of the season this Sunday (Oct. 4). We look forward to celebrating Don’s career at NESN throughout that game."
NESN’s handling of Orsillo’s dismissal has been met with considerable public criticism, and their decision not to air Sunday’s tribute struck many as just another affront to Orsillo, who spent the last 15 seasons as the Boston Red Sox's play-by-play man on the regional sports network.
Multiple NESN sources told ESPN.com that they were instructed not to show the tribute or the fans chanting Orsillo's name after a prolonged ovation.
NESN announced it is replacing Orsillo with the highly regarded Dave O’Brien, who has been part of the team’s radio team at WEEI for the last nine seasons, while also assembling an impressive body of work at ESPN. Orsillo will not be out of work for long. An announcement is forthcoming in the next couple of weeks that Orsillo has struck a long-term deal to be part of the San Diego Padres' broadcast crew. He is ultimately replacing the legendary Dick Enberg, the 80-year-old who earlier announced that the 2016 season will be his last.