Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck has been a reliable face and voice of NFL and MLB games for the better part of two decades.
But in 2011, Buck nearly had to step away from the broadcast booth when he lost his voice before the start of the baseball season. At the time, Buck said his paralyzed vocal chord was the result of a virus in the laryngeal nerve of his left vocal cord. It wasn’t until October 2011 that he said he felt his voice had returned to him.
But as Sports Illustrated revealed on Thursday in a sneak peek from Buck’s forthcoming memoir, Buck’s lost voice was actually the result of his secret hair-plug addiction.
When Buck was 24, he began receiving hair treatments because he feared he would lose his hair.
“Broadcasting is a brutal, often unfair business, where looks are valued more than skill,” Buck writes in his book, according to SI. “I was worried that if I lost my hair, I would lose my job. OK, that’s bulls—. It was vanity. Pure vanity. I just told myself I was doing it for TV.”
In 2011, Buck underwent his eighth hair treatment. When he woke following the surgery, he couldn’t speak.
“He believes his vocal cord was paralyzed because of a cuff the surgery center used to protect him during the procedure. A doctor not part of the operation theorized to Buck that the cuff probably got jostled during the procedure and sat on the nerve responsible for firing his left vocal cord. Buck was also going through personal stress at the time, as his marriage to his high school sweetheart was ending. That stress, Buck theorizes, could have made him more susceptible to nerve damage.”
Worse, still, Buck was so embarrassed by the reason behind his lost voice that he lied to his bosses about the entire episode.
“I was too scared and embarrassed to tell them the truth,” Buck wrote.
He continued (per SI):
“‘I was lying,’ Buck said of the stories about his vocal cord issues. ‘I think people bend the truth all the time, unfortunately. It was really for self-preservation and ego for me. As I look back, I gave partial truths. Where I lied was when I said the reason why. People would ask, “Why is your vocal cord paralyzed?” I said it was a virus. I didn’t say it was an elective procedure to add hair to the front of my head.
“It was embarrassing. There’s an embarrassing element to that. Any surgery done to improve one’s looks is not really something someone wants to talk about. So it’s very cathartic to get this out. There are a lot of people across the country, for as silly as this sounds, who obsess about hair loss. I would tell myself I needed to look younger, I needed to have thicker hair, I don’t want to look older than I am. The truth of it is that it was an ego thing, whether I was on TV or not.'”
It’s certainly a bizarre story, and you can read the whole account at SI.
Meanwhile, Buck will be back in the broadcast booth for MLB playoffs. Hopefully he feels this is a weight off his chest.