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Italian American Anti-Defamation Group Demands Suspension of NBC Sportscaster Johnny Millerr

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900 kcafiero@osia.org

Washington, D.C., June 19, 2008 ­ The Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ), the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America®, the nation's biggest Italian American organization, is demanding an on-air apology and the suspension of NBC's lead golf analyst Johnny Miller after discriminatory statements about Rocco Mediate he broadcast during the U.S. Open on Sunday, June 15.

Referring to Mediate, who was a finalist in the competition, Miller said, "Mediate looks like the guy who cleans Tiger's swimming pool," and "Guys with the name of Rocco don't get on the trophy, do they?" They were aired nationally and then spread worldwide via the Internet.

"If Johnny Miller had made a similar remark about Tiger Woods, he would have been fired," says Anthony Baratta, national president of the Sons of Italy® CSJ. "That's what happened to Fuzzy Zoeller in 1998 when he jokingly asked Woods, who had just won the Master's, to request that "fried chicken and collard greens" were on the next year's tournament menu.

"And I would remind Mr. Miller that a considerable number of Italian Americans have distinguished themselves in golf, including Gene Sarazen (Eugenio Saraceni), Johnny Revolta, Vic Ghezzi, Donna Caponi, Fred Couples (Coppola) and Ken Venturi," he says.

Baratta also cites an incident involving broadcaster Kelly Tilghman, reported in the New York Times January 11 article, When an Apology Is Not Enough, which states, "that when Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman said that one way for young golfers to stop Woods is to ‘lynch him in a back alley'… her words earned her a two-week, unpaid suspension."

The article also mentions, "Tilghman now belongs to a group of experienced broadcasters who have paid for their missteps about race, religion or gender, including Don Imus, Michael Irvin, Jimmy (The Greek)Snyder, Steve Lyons, Rush Limbaugh and Ben Wright."

Baratta and the CSJ have written NBC asking for the same justice, "NBC should suspend Johnny Miller immediately and demand a retraction of his statements as well as an on-air apology to this nation's estimated 20 million Italian Americans," he said.:

Baratta is urging all concerned citizens to contact NBC at the following addresses:

Email dick.ebersol@nbcuni.com

Address: Mr. Richard Ebersol
Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

The Sons of Italy® CSJ is the anti-defamation arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the largest and oldest national organization for people of Italian descent in the U.S. To learn more about the CSJ, visit us on the Web at www.osia.org or contact us via e-mail at csj@osia.org.