The conspiracy theorists are running rampant Thursday morning with questions about Roger Federer’s on-court interview with ESPN’s Pat Shriver after last night’s quarterfinal victory over Robin Soderling. The buzz centers on a conspicuous four-second audio outage, where context suggests Federer may (or may not) have been referring to his love life since the birth last year of twin daughters Charlene Riva and Myla Rose.
The dropped feed appeared to be a technical difficulty, as the audio returned once Shriver was handed a second microphone from off-screen. “The sound went dead for a few seconds causing instant panic in the truck until the sound came back,” an ESPN spokesperson told SI.com’s Richard Deitsch this morning. “The interruption was due to RF interference. It makes more for good Internet fodder but he was live.”
But that hasn’t stopped the blogosphere from presuming the network cut the feed deliberately because Federer went from PG-13 to R, citing the crowd’s vocal response (did they hear something?) and the quizzical expressions of Mirka, Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani in Federer’s box. Phrases like “muted by ESPN” and “audio dumped by ESPN” are search terms for the video on YouTube. There’s even a #WhatDidFedererSay hashtag on Twitter.
You be the judge. Here’s a video of the clip, followed by the transcript:
SHRIVER: You have twin daughters. I’m a mom of twins, Patrick McEnroe up there, the dad of twins. What’s the latest trick of the twins at 14 months, it starts to roll around, the tricks?
FEDERER: They’ve started giving me kisses now, I love it. So cute. Look, that’s really what it is, day by day they learn some more things, they’re both walking and running around now, so I love spending time with them and, uh, now unfortunately there’s …
AUDIO CUTS OUT
… but, but, they’ll be sleeping and we’ll see from there.
Here’s the post-match interview in its entirety. What do you think? A rare moment of ribaldry from Federer? Or a technical snafu that’s become a sort of a Rorschach test of purity?