• Sports College Sports Commentary: Dick Vitale kissing Ashley Judd no laughing matter By Shannon Ryan contact the reporter Dick Vitale Kentucky Wildcats ESPN Jack Nicholson

    Nothing is more jubilant for college basketball fans than the official start of March Madness.

    In that spirit, we can hope, over-the-top ESPN analyst Dick Vitale went for the big laugh – with a big kiss.

    Before the SEC championship game on Sunday, the Duke enthusiast certainly got the cheap chuckles he was looking for as the 75-year-old planted a kiss on the lips of an unsuspecting Ashley Judd.

    The photo should make us all feel as uncomfortable as Judd looked, the long-time Kentucky fan and actress leaning back as Vitale leans in.

    In the aftermath, the tone by most media was a tsk-tsk and a roll of the eyes. Oh, that Dickie V.

    Kentucky athletics’ photo staff found the moment so cheeky they tweeted the photo, calling it a “good luck smooch.” USA Today tweeted, “Oh my. That’s one heck of a kiss.” The Washington Post described it as Vitale getting “a little frisky.”

    This isn’t something we should so casually laugh off. Why do we think it’s cute, let alone acceptable, when old men are physically or verbally inappropriate with women, especially younger women?

    This is wildly unprofessional for a broadcaster, but we’ll leave that argument alone as it’s well known that any virtues of journalistic objectivity by Vitale have long been shed for his “awesome, baby” schtick. This is an instance of a man – because of his age, because of his stature, because of his gender - displaying ownership over a woman’s body.

    Besides the fact that he appeared sober, Vitale’s antics aren’t all that different than when Joe Namath leeringly and creepily told sideline reporter Suzy Kolber in 2007 that he wanted to kiss her as she interviewed him.

    Kolber had to laugh it off, much like Judd did Sunday.

    Maybe it really didn’t bother Judd, who had appropriately given Vitale a welcomed kiss on the cheek before the game. (To caption that photo on Instagram, Vitale wrote, “Eat ur hearts out guys.”)

    But maybe as an avid sports fan, Judd didn’t want to come off as a poor sport. And maybe it’s just another reminder of how women – as athletes, as fans, as media – are still marginalized in sports despite significant strides in recent history.

    Judd, who advocates for women’s rights, recently tweeted some of the vulgar gender-based name calling she receives. But she has been the brunt of sports media sexism lately, too.

    Earlier this month, CBS’s Doug Gottlieb bemoaned that Judd wore eyeglasses at a Kentucky game.

    “She’s wearing cheaters,” he said. “Man, when you get to the age where you have to wear cheaters…that just breaks my heart.”

    Because she wants to see? Oh, the horror!

    Or because she cares more about her eyes taking in the game than being your eye candy? Because at age 46, she no longer fits the mold as the hot, young, super fan anymore?

    Apparently so. Gottlieb, 39, then described her as “old.”

    I don’t recall any Lakers broadcasts when 77-year-old Jack Nicholson’s physique was critiqued or when he was greeted with an uninvited lip lock. A female working in sports media who behaved like Vitale would be widely ridiculed and out of a job, I have no doubt.

    I expected ESPN to sweep an uncomfortable and – let’s be frank – creepy moment under the rug. Instead, when Vitale was on the post-Selection Sunday show, the kiss was among the first questions he was asked about by male anchors who inferred they wished they could be so lucky.

    They all snickered about Vitale landing one on Judd.

    When they stop laughing, I invite them to start thinking. Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

    cComments Great article. The self-serving “Dickie V” needs to be put out to pasture. He’s nothing but a clown at this point, a doddering old fool. BROHEEMS AT 9:47 AM MARCH 16, 2015

    Mercy! Thank goodness there was no social media to capture my legendary exploits! And come on Dickie V. You’re a celebrity, you can do better than some 46 year old! HACK HARELLSON AT 9:37 AM MARCH 16, 2015 ADD A COMMENTSEE ALL COMMENTS 27


  • @Crimsonorblue22 shaking my head in amazement Im not really sure how I feel about that, except to say…Ewwwwww? Not because of Ms Judd bcuz I still find her very attractive even if she is a Kentucky fan. But why would Dickie V think its a good idea, or socially acceptable to do that? I mean, isnt she married or attached to someone?

  • Dickie V says, “Rock Chalk Jayhawk Olivia Wilde Baby…You’re next on my list.”

    Olivia Wilde is in hiding.

  • Remember the Ashley Judd-Dick Vitale kiss? That was rhetorical, clearly that image will be burned into our brains for years to come.

    Judd went on MSNBC to talk about things she has coming up, but that’s not what you’re here for. Skip to the 3:30 mark, the Kentucky fan talks about “the kiss that can’t be unseen.” The actress says it was taken out of context and social media is so vicious that she’s pressing charges. Not sure how she would figure out who to bring charges against, but she’s going to give it the old college try.

    Judd is right about social media because it does bring out the worst in some people. On the other hand, when you lay a smooch on the most famous voice in college sports, you’re guaranteed to get some press.

    “I kiss strangers at games all the time,” Judd said.

    Not sure what exactly happens at Kentucky games, but sounds entertaining.

  • I wonder if Vitale considers himself a “diaper dandy” because he wears Depends…

  • @Lulufulu She divorced Indy car driver Dario Franchitti in 2013.

  • Why does that look so sick? It should look ‘descent,’ ‘pure,’ ‘wholesome,’ maybe ‘grandfatherly,’…but Dickie just looks like the perverted old uncle that takes advantage. Look at that liplock…good grief. She’s actually backing away too. I could understand a light little peck on the cheek, but gee.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 You just had to post it…this image will require some therapy.

  • Well its pretty clear she did not want to French Kiss.


  • Ugh. I can’t un-see that.


  • If I were Vitale, I would not go into still country for awhile.

    Say what you will about the hill folk there, they retain some chivalric codes about outsiders coming in and messing with their women.


  • That picture was the David Letterman Top Ten List.


  • @wrwlumpy I w/#1!

  • I think we’ve got it all wrong.

    She’s trying to suck all the WORDS out of his mouth so she can enjoy the game in peace and quiet.

  • @nuleafjhawk now, if she would suck out all the words of Fran and mushy!!! And…

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Excellent idea! 💡

  • I heard Gottlieb and Vitale locked lips once too.

  • @wissoxfan83 this is getting worse by the minute. Have you seen the pic of coach Crean kissing his son? Gross

  • @wrwlumpy Ahhhhhhh! Thats freekin hilarious!

  • I hadn’t yet seen the kiss and now that image will be forever seared into my cerebrum

  • @HawkInMizery haven’t heard from you! Didn’t you go to wv game? Or was it Texas? Have fun?

  • I went to the WV game, it was one of the best games I’ve ever been too. It was my birthday and my mom bought tickets and I took my nephew and it was his first game. I was gonna be so pissed if his first game was a loss and turns out it was one of the greater games in recent memory at the Fieldhouse. I also went to the game against TCU for the Big 12 tournament. My big brother works for TWC and he was given tickets to their corporate suite so I got to go with him. Awesome experience but I would choose AFH over the corporate atmosphere of Sprint Center all day.

  • @Crimsonorblue22


    We have to remember that Judd is from Kentucky. So kissing Dickie V was actually an upgrade…


  • @HawkInMizery I was at the wv game too, was hoping you didn’t leave early. Did you get the bobble head? I bet your nephew was excited! Awesome experience, I get goose bumps every time!

  • @drgnslayr Ewww, I just got 2teeth pulled last week!!! But, thank heaven you can’t see where!!!

  • Dick Vitale was on the Fox and Friends show early this morning and said that it was Ashley that kissed him. The other pictures of the event showed her kissing him on the cheek not the mouth; it was after that that Vitale planted the big wet one on her…unbelievable…

    Link to video…

  • @JayHawkFanToo that weird uncle!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    …and now a liar too boot…

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Yup! We both got bobble heads and after the game I took him down to the court and had him stand on the court so I could take his picture!. We were going to wait for autographs but it was a school night for him and already closing in on midnight with a drive back to KC

  • @HawkInMizery cool story!! Don’t be a stranger!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I won’t be, I need to remember to log on more lol I started working from home so instead of spending my days on here I’ve been wathcing a lot of Netflix ha! I’m going to the games in Omaha this weekend.

  • @HawkInMizery fun!! Update us!

  • If I was Dick, think I’d get a mono test.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Will do! Gonna be a lot of driving. I’m driving up and back down on Friday and Sunday because I am going to the Sporting game here on Saturday. Long weekend lol

  • @HawkInMizery fun times though!

  • I think every game you told us you went to this year, they won, right!!! I think they will be playing like the Texas game w/u there. Only problem, you will have to keep going!

  • Here is my winning streak as in road games I saw AFTER I graduated.

    1986 Big 8 Tourney Win Champs over ISU

    1986 Final Four in Dallas Loss to Duke

    1988 National Champs in KC

    2003 Elite 8 win over Duke at the Pond in Anaheim

    2008 Final Four in San Antonio win over UNC

    2008 National Champs over Memphis

    2011 Sweet 16 win over Richmond in San Antonio

    2013 Win over Texas in Austin

    2013 Sweet 16 loss to Michigan in Dallas

    2015 Win over Texas in Austin

    So KU is 8-2 when I show up. Am I good luck or is KU just that darn good?

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