I’ve been tied up in two days of seminars so I haven’t had much time to write. I have to tell you, there is no bigger topic in this city, when it comes to sports where people, with real opinions anyways, then the issue of sports radio personalities. This blog will turn 3 in a little less than a month. Of all the topics that I have written about, none has been responded to more passionately then issues about sports radio personalities. To those who question who is listening or something like that, I am telling you the industry is an issue that people feel very passionately about.
Here we are, 4 days since word of the “suspension” broke and it is still being talked about on both local and national talk shows. To me, the issue has become very simple. Wilner may be an ass on the air to fans, the appearance right now is that Rogers may censor him or any other on air personality for being critical (perhaps overly- but that is debatable) of Roger’s owned properties.
Lots of you have been keeping me up to date on what people have been saying either on twitter or on the air and I thank you. Capn2patch posted a few links earlier today and a couple are worth nothing:
TSN’s off the record discussed it on a segment called – Really Off The Record. Friend of the Pressbox, Gord Kirke was on with Cam Stewart, Jeff Hutcheson and Brian Dunstan. Hutcheson, from Canada Am fame I believe framed the issue properly. Why did a guy who is paid to be a critic get suspended for doing his job and what message does that send. I know some people think he was too personal or too over the top or critical or confrontational but is that reason enough to get suspended- that’s the issue right? The best part of the clip- in my opinion anyways was when Landsburgh and Dunstan went at it over whether or not Cito Gaston is thin skinned. Discuss amongst yourselves and share here please!
I find Bruce Dowbiggin’s first line of his column on the subject the most interesting: “The FAN 590′s new brain trust has made no secret that it’s going to make changes. Soon.” Really? It has????? Is that simply by conducting polls? I have not seen anything released saying changes are coming soon. I will say, as I have before – changes are coming and I do believe they will be sooner rather than later (more is coming I promise) but I wouldn’t say that the Fan folks are the ones blabbing about it!
Dowbiggin’s last line is probably the smartest one, at least in terms of advice to those working at the Fan 590 right now… “The conclusion for a potential FAN 590 employee? The line between the corporate cousins is wafer thin. Uncomfortable dissent will be scrutinized unless your name is Bob McCown. Proceed at your own risk.”
Allow me to present another issue that has been raised quite often and that is the history between these two guys. I have said that for the most part I always found Wilner to be a homer. I thought that until this season, specifically, Wilner was a Blue Jays apologist and that included Cito. I will add the caveat that Wilner didn’t, if memory serves me correctly endorse the hire at the time Cito was brought back. For some reason I seem to recall Wilner saying, at the time that Cito wasn’t going to change the fortunes of the struggling club- I could be wrong but that is what I remember. Now, I may be straying off line but this is a topic that is of great interest to me, especially in sports. I raised it with Tony Amrogio on the PressBox and now I want to raise it again. Stay with me here. Helen Thomas resigned from her post at Hearst Publications after making an insensitive comment about Jews in Israel. I don’t want to discuss the whole issue here however, I found this article in the Washington Post very interesting:
“Thomas’s comments — Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and return to Poland and Germany, lands that tried to exterminate persecuted them — went largely unnoticed in the mainstream media until it was picked up by the Drudge Report and Montgomery County’s Walt Whitman High School asked her to bow out as this week’s commencement speaker. Various rationalizations were offered up for the lack of coverage: she doesn’t hold public office; the press shouldn’t be policing First Amendment rights of opinion writers; her views on Israel were long known; and, finally, no one really takes her seriously any more.
What is far more likely is that the news media, with rare exceptions, are loath to subject their own to the scrutiny we routinely apply to others. Imagine, if you can, if those same comments had been made by a sitting governor, head of Fortune 500 company or even some Hollywood star.”
Do you think this is true to a certain degree here? Are those in the business loath to subject their own to scrutiny we apply to others? Lots of writers are coming out in support of Wilner. With the exception of Jeff Blair and Greg Brady, I haven’t really seen others take public stances the other way. Do you think that this is simply due to protecting the sanctity of the “brotherhood”? Look at where Mike Toth is these days not so long after he made his sexist comment about women in the sports journalism profession. Will sports MSMers keep quiet on the news of their peers because they are there peers? I am really curious as to what people think? If Wilner were a hothead- and I am not suggesting he is, do you think other journalists can report on that? Is it news? The media today, especially the sports media have to report on way more than sports. There’s business, law, sex scandals, and I am only just beginning. We constantly hear, read or see stories about athletes, coaches, owners or officials misbehaving. Yet we don’t hear, on the record anyways stories of those in the industry unless they caught with their proverbial pants down. Thoughts? comments?
Lastly… On the topic of MSMers, Greg Brady is once again taking to his bike to try to raise funds for cancer. I donate every year to his cause, I think it’s terrific that he does it and I do believe that “public figures” doing things like this really helps the cause. So…. I am asking you to give as well. (Other MSMers who do similar charitable work I am happy to promote your cause as well- just let me know).
I say all the time how hard it is to give these days. I am sure you get hit up all the time for donations from friends, co-workers, nieces, nephews etc. I can’t tell you that this one is any more important than any other charity. Here is what I will say. Greg Brady is putting his money where his mouth (or a$$ ) is. Not only that, and yes he is a friend of the Pressbox, he like other MSMers is one of the most active on Twitter and most accessible to us fans too. It’s for a good cause, so if you can spare a sheckel please do. Donate here please.