Pete Rose’s two-year broadcasting career at Fox Sports has ended, according to reports.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Lesley Goldberg and Marisa Guthrie reported on Thursday that Rose will no longer appear as an MLB analyst on the network. That publication—and particularly Guthrie—has long had sources inside Fox.
“We are not commenting on the Hollywood Reporter story,” a Fox Sports spokesperson told SI.com Thursday.
Rose was expected to return to the network this postseason but has apparently became too toxic given he is accused of having a sexual relationship with a woman in the 1970s before she turned 16, according to court documents obtained by ESPN.com. In testimony as part of a federal lawsuit Rose filed last year against John Dowd, the woman alleged the relationship started when she was 14 or 15 years old. Rose has admitted to having a sexual relationship with the woman but said she was 16. Rose was 34 at the time and married with two children. He says he can’t remember how long the relationship lasted.
The optics of keeping Rose on-air in the climate of the negative publicity surrounding Fox News, Fox Business Network and Fox Sports from sexual harassment complaints signaled that this decision was coming. In early August a Fox Sports spokesperson declined comment to SI on Rose’s status at the network. Asked when Rose was next scheduled to appear on air, the spokesperson said there was no current date for his next on-air assignment. SI legal expert Michael McCann said at the time Rose’s TV contract likely contains “morals clause” language that could be invoked to end his deal on grounds of statutory rape allegation.
Rose had been an unexpected surprise as a postseason MLB studio analyst for Fox Sports. Partnered with Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas and host Kevin Burkhardt, Rose found his voice as part-baseball geek, part-crazy grandpa, and a full-time polarizing figure. The mixing of Rodriguez and Rose—two of the most polarizing forces in baseball but both baseball wonks—created authenticity in the studio and the free form of the show gave Fox its closest studio equivalent to TNT’s Inside The NBA and ESPN’s College GameDay. Last year the network posted a six-minute-and-26-second video of Rose giving hitting instructions (and telling batting stories) to fellow MLB studio analysts Rodriguez and Thomas. It was remarkable to eavesdrop on three hitters with a combined 9,939 hits and Fox Sports was rewarded with unheard-of social metrics for a studio show clip. The video has more than 20 million views on Facebook.