It's a question as old as time -- or at least as old as your pimply faced kid...
And now, 16 years after it happened, Dan Patrick says, "I think the full story will eventually come out about that..."
The comment coming at the end of a discussion about former ESPN executive Mark Shapiro who was Jim Rome's producer on "Talk 2."
"I think the full story will eventually come out about that, whether it was staged or not. The Jim Everett - Chris Evert with Jim Rome and Mark Shapiro was the guy behind the scenes with Jim Rome, in his ear."
"Now whatever role played there, I saw it as you saw it. The book that's coming out on ESPN does have a story on that from what I'm told. I don't know what is fact, what is fiction."
Rome's assertion since it happened was that it wasn't "staged" and that it could have been the end of his career. Whenever Al Michaels comes on for an interview, Rome thanks him for being the guest the night after the Everett incident.
Is there more to the story than that? Cynics have long suggested it was a publicity stunt that successfully launched Rome into the stratosphere he has resided in ever since.
I've yet to come across a Jim Everett interview in which he admits to it being staged. That's partly because I've yet to come across a Jim Everett interview that is not the Jim Rome interview. The only other piece of video floating around the internet is the "phantom sack" that led to the talk show host's gender bending nickname for him.
Even if Everett didn't "agree" to the confrontation ahead of time, my educated guess is that he was aware the nickname was going to be brought up at some point in the interview.
It's also fairly obvious that Rome didn't decide on his own to venture directly into "Chris Evert" territory. The graphic, or "lower third" as it's called, identifies Jim Everett with a second line of "don't call me chris, ok!" Most of the time, those graphics are pre-loaded. They are also occasionally typed in on the fly. Either way, the graphic is a clear indication that the control room has approved of what's taking place on the set. The producer, Mark Shapiro, was most likely in the control room at the time.
Where am I going with all of this? I have no idea. I'll contact Jim Everett at his asset management company to shed some light on the subject or, more likely, become the 8,000th guy to be ignored.
Perhaps the new ESPN book being written by Jim Miller and Tom Shales, as Patrick suggested, will have better success at putting a bow on the story.