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Murphy benched

Hall of Fame basketball player Calvin Murphy, currently under indictment on several charges of sexual assault against five of his children, will not be part of the Houston Rockets broadcast team in 2004-05.

Calvin Murphy’s leave of absence from his broadcast duties with the Rockets will continue throughout the 2004-05 season, the team announced Friday.

The decision clears the way for the Rockets to replace Murphy as the team’s television analyst with Comets coach Van Chancellor, possibly as soon as next week.

Murphy, the Hall of Fame guard who has been a Rockets broadcaster for 14 seasons, has been on leave since he was charged in March with sexually abusing five of his daughters more than a decade ago. He was indicted July 1 and is expected to go to trial in November.

“We’re waiting to see what the legal process proves,” said Tad Brown, the club’s senior vice president of sales, marketing and broadcasting. “Everybody is focused on moving ahead with the season, and Calvin is focused on getting ready to go to court. … We will wait to see what happens at the trial, and that is all we can do.”

Murphy, 55, is in the final year of his contract with the Rockets. He played 13 years with the team before serving as an assistant coach and working as the team’s community services adviser in addition to his broadcasting duties.

Brown said the Rockets have not reached a formal agreement with Chancellor to team with Bill Worrell but added: “We think he could do a good job and work well with Bill. But we’re not ready to make an announcement.”

The contrast between Murph’s bombast and Chancellor’s deep-fried folksiness may be jarring to Rockets fans. I suspect that even if he’s fully exonerated, he won’t get signed to a new contract by the team. Whatever you may think of his abilities in the booth, that’s a sad way to go.

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One Comment

  1. Chris Elam says:

    Just about ANYBODY would be better than Matt “Air” Bullard.

    His color commentary gives Alan Ashby a run for the money.