Mark Madden, who made his reputation with bold, outlandish attacks on famous people, has been permanently removed from the air by ESPN.

His dismissal, which came down from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., came five days after he made a scurrilous remark about U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on his 1250 ESPN talk show, which ran from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays.

“We’ve taken Mark off the air pursuant to our contractual rights,” said Josh Krulewitz, the vice president for public relations at ESPN.

The decision comes less than a year after Madden signed a long-term contract. No decision has been made on who will fill Madden’s time slot.

At the opening of his show last Wednesday, Madden said this about Sen. Kennedy, who days earlier had been diagnosed with brain cancer:

“I’m very disappointed to hear that Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated.

“I wonder if he got a card from the Kopechnes.”

So says the Post Gazette.

I want you to consider something….

Replace the name Kennedy with the name George W Bush, and recalculate.

If you still don’t think, deep in your heart, that ESPN’s response was the proper one, then you need to seriously consider why … on what basis… you think the punishment was just, or unjust. Trouble of course is, that ESPN’s reaction in such a situation would seem to be a large question mark in that scenario.

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