News Flash: OLN Fires Phil Liggett

07.6.2005 | 3:54 am

Failed to Meet Contractual Obligation to Mention Lance Armstrong Three Times Per Minute, Sources Say


Paris, July 5 (Fat Cyclist News Service) – Outdoor Life Network today severed its contract with Phil Liggett, a perennial favorite cycling announcer both in England and in the United States. A spokesperson for Outdoor Life Network said, "We regret having to let Phil go, but he knew the terms of our agreement when he signed on. Namely, he is required to allude to Lance Armstrong three times per minute, with at least one of those mentions being by name. Most importantly, at no point in time shall forty seconds ever elapse without a mention of Lance Armstrong."


"Today, sadly, Mr. Liggett broke the terms of that agreement. When David Zabriskie had his unfortunate accident today, Phil failed for 40 seconds to put it in the context of whether this would impact Lance Armstrong or whether Lance Armstrong would would have fallen, or asking what Lance Armstrong must be thinking about this accident right that moment."


When reached for comment, co-commentator Paul Sherwin said, "I had my ‘Lance Stopwatch’ going — it’s what we use to help remind us when it’s time to mention Lance again.” Continued Sherwin, “When Zabriskie fell, Liggett started actually talking about how disastrous it was for the rider, instead of — as is proper — talking about this would affect Lance and how he would no doubt have words of advice on the proper way to ride a bicycle for young Zabriskie. When twenty seconds elapsed, I signaled to the timer. Then thirty seconds elapsed — still no mention, so I made the sign of the Texas Longhorn, the code we use to signal that we need to immediately divert the conversation toward Armstrong. Still nothing.”


Visibly shaken, Sherwin finished, “After forty-five seconds, Phil managed to bring the conversation back round to Armstrong, but by then it was too late. OLN Security was knocking at the door, ready to escort Phil from the premises.”


Interviewed in his hotel room in Paris, Liggett looked like a man who has lost his best friend. “I’m a huge fan of Armstrong,” said Liggett. “I haven’t pretended to be impartial for years. But between Bob Roll and that marionette Al Trautwig, our Armstrong-centricism seemed pretty well covered, and I suppose I briefly let my guard down. I wonder what Lance Armstrong thinks about that?” Then, realizing the habit of mentioning Armstrong even when completely irrelevant was still with him, Liggett briefly looked melancholy — which is the British equivalent of an American having a complete nervous breakdown.


OLN has moved swiftly to replace Liggett, putting former color-commentator Al Trautwig in his spot. Said Trautwig regarding his promotion, “Lance Armstrong. Lance Lance Lance Armstrong. Armstrong Armstrong Lance Lance Lance Lance. Six-time Tour de France winner. Lance Armstrong Lance Armstrong, Lance Armstrong.”


“This is going to work out just fine,” said the OLN spokesperson.


Today’s Weight: Continues to be an unknown. I return to work tomorrow, and will start weighing myself again then. However, let the fact that I created The Fat Cyclist’s 7-Layer Dip for yesterday’s picnic (it was a big hit, as it always is) — along with the ancillary fact that I ate 3 bratwursts — help you draw your conclusions as to how much self-control I exhibited over the vacation.



  1. Comment by Unknown | 07.6.2005 | 4:09 pm

    you are fat. lance armstrong is fat. you are lance armstrong. bratwursts are good. 7 layer dip is good. bratwursts are 7 layer dip. robbie mcewan is the most interesting rider in the peloton.these are some of my thoughts.

  2. Comment by Clay | 07.8.2005 | 2:26 am

    This story is brilliant. Did you write for the Onion in a past life?Leadville or bust….

  3. Comment by Debra | 07.14.2005 | 4:49 am

    Sheryl Crow mentioned that Lance Armstrong had trouble digesting his meal, which didn’t include any dishes from the Longhorn state of Texas, after reading about Phil’s slip. If only there was a British or French rider at the front of the pelaton, all would be well.

  4. Comment by Carolynn | 07.15.2005 | 6:10 pm

    Fat Cyclist News Service fails once again. Armstrong? Liggett? Zabriskie? What of Bobby Periwinkle? Not a word, and in this omission FCNS joins all the other low life national and inter-national news services. Bobby trained for a year for this year’s Tour de France, riding his expensive $119 Sears bike nightly around the block, sometimes as many as 15 or 16 times. One day a week he chose to ride around the block during the heat of the day too – this in the interest of cross training. Knowing he would be scorned by advertisers, who virtrually control the world’s economy (and were not even mentioned at the recent G-8 summit in Scotland), he arranged to be followed in a panel truck driven by his 69 year old and very loving Mother with whom Bobby lives. Bobby himself is only 43 and has never been married. In the interest of building up his physical ability to match the rigors of the Tour he gave up any thought of work. He has never actually worked but devotion to the Tour this year caused all thought even of work to be put aside. Arising late (his Mom and he slept in the truck) as his is wont – he is very disciplined – he followed the riders thru the thicket of discarded gum wrappers and fast food containers, risking life and limb. Courageously he sought shelter from too much sun or rain or whatever else nature threw at him. His reward? Totally ignored by FCNS and the rest of the world. Oh well.

  5. Comment by Unknown | 07.20.2005 | 9:05 pm

    Indeed! I also suspect that Fat Cyclist may have written for the Onion, or perhaps still does. Poor Phil.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 07.26.2005 | 6:07 pm

    This is great. Just ran across it from Bike Friday Yak. Gotta say love Lance, Love Phil and Paul, OLN sucks. How about creating the tour coverage for next year? Back to 1 hour on Sunday.

  7. Comment by Jason | 08.11.2005 | 4:26 pm

    Comedy! I just came across this on another blog. I think they also canned him because he didn’t mention all of OLN’s 583 sponsors before each commercial break.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 03.13.2006 | 8:09 am

    Nice blog! if you have time please check mine…

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