The Red Sox have apologized after Monday night’s episode of racial harassment by a fan or fans at Fenway Park against Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. Gov. Charlie Baker called it “shameful” and Mayor Marty Walsh condemned the taunts. If you’re surprised it could happen at Fenway in 2017, you haven’t been listening to Boston sports talk radio.
I’ve been listening as Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti on The Sports Hub have been whipping fans into a frenzy ever since Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia on a slide into second, demanding the Red Sox try to hurt an Orioles player in retribution. Anyone who disagreed wasn’t a real fan. After Pedroia himself wisely tried to defuse the situation, Felger & Massarrotti insinuated he was a traitor.
Surely local sports talk radio hosts will try to claim they didn’t mean to whip up THIS kind of hate. Sorry, but you don’t get to incite the mob, then disavow it when it rages across lines you didn’t plan on.
I can’t imagine how bad it’s been on WEEI’s Kirk Minnihan & Gerry Callahan show, who openly champion right-wing extremism:
- This morning, Minihane is demanding additional proof of racial tauntings, as if last night’s double-digit fan ejections weren’t enough
- Earlier this month, Minihane called Boston Mayor Marty Walsh a “pandering fool” for acknowledging comedian Michael Che “clearly had bad experiences in our city” after Che characterized Boston as racist
- Minihane screamed at Walsh over his plans to protect Boston’s undocumented immigrants
- Callahan & previous cohost John Dennis compared black children to gorillas and mocked gay people
Hosts at The Sports Hub are all-white and all-male. WEEI has some diversity but is also all-male. WEEI’s Kirk Minihan called stalking victim Erin Andrews a “gutless bitch,” “joked” about murdering Roger Goodell, and was suspended for screaming at a coworker. His punishment? He was promoted to morning show co-host.
The Sports Hub’s Felger once dragged a sports reporter’s name through the mud over unsubstantiated allegations she had an affair with Jason Varitek. Weird how sports talk radio always calls the woman a slut for having an affair, while man’s integrity is never questioned. I’m sure it has nothing to do with every single Boston sports talk radio host being male! Felger has also gained national attention recently for saying only lazy people like the Celtics’ Al Horford want to spend time with their newborn children.
It’s telling that by far the best (and to Boston’s credit, highest-rated) sports talk radio show belongs to Toucher & Rich, neither of whom came up through local sports talk radio.
For Boston sports fans, one episode can set back years of progress embracing black stars. They have a lot of making up to do, and it should start tonight with a standing ovation for Jones, as suggested by WBZ’s Dan Roche.
More broadly, it’s time for Entercom, which owns both stations, to face questions about its role in the Boston community. We should also take a close look at who’s advertising on Kirk & Callahan, sponsoring their hate.