ABC doesn't report, won't comment on cause of Martin Gramatica's injury.
By SHARON GINN
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 16, 2002
ABC broadcasters poked fun at Martin Gramatica during the broadcast of Saturday's playoff game, calling him "dramatica" after cameras showed him writhing in pain on the field one minute, kicking a field goal the next.
What they didn't say on-camera -- then, or later in the broadcast -- was that they could have been to blame if Gramatica had been injured seriously.
As he warmed up in the waning moments of the first half, Gramatica was hit by an ABC sideline camera truck. According to media reports, the truck hit Gramatica from behind, then kept going.
Gramatica rolled around on the ground for a few moments, recovered, then jogged onto the field, where he closed the first half by kicking his third field goal of the game, a 27-yarder to make the score 17-9.
As he returned to the game, analyst Paul Maguire noted that "Gramatica is dramatica," and play-by-play announcer Mike Patrick made it sound as if the kicker had injured himself while warming up. Whether the three-man announcing team knew of the collision with the ABC truck at that moment was unclear, but the trio arguably left viewers with the impression that Gramatica had little reason to be acting as he did.
Monday morning, Mark Mandel, ABC vice president for communications, refused comment on the matter. He said the incident is "something that's open to various interpretations" and it's not an issue because Gramatica returned to the game.
"This is between the Bucs, the NFL and ABC," Mandel said. "We haven't heard from Martin, we haven't heard from the league, we haven't heard from the Bucs. If there's an issue, we're unaware of it."
Mandel would not say who made the decision not to tell viewers what happened to Gramatica. The crew was ESPN's, led by coordinating producer Jay Rothman, but ABC representatives were on hand. An ESPN spokesman referred questions to Mandel.