BS Off-Topic – The Day We Helped Get a Meathead Suspended
If you’re an avid follower of all things Boiled Sports (and I’m sure you are) then today you may have noticed that we somehow managed to get some attention for a non-Purdue-related tweet. But let’s back up a bit. As the evening started, I settled in to watch the Yankees-Astros AL Wild Card game. As I did, I noticed that there was a lady in the broadcast booth – Jess Mendoza. Who, it turns out, has been there for some of the season, but I tend to avoid ESPN broadcasts whenever possible, especially their baseball ones. As a Yankee fan living in the New York area, I have the opportunity to watch most NYY games on their team-owned network, so I can avoid hearing the babble stylings of John Kruk.
Anyway, Jess Mendoza was there and I just felt that was a good thing. No woman had ever broadcast a postseason MLB game on national television. It’s 2015 and this shouldn’t be that big a deal, but good for ESPN for doing it. Many felt the same way:
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) October 7, 2015
Incidentally, it must be awesome to be a former ESPN’er and be able to openly comment on what’s good and bad about ESPN. Anyway, Rich was one of many who thought Mendoza being there was terrific.
Others, however, did not agree.
Twitter is a place that is always teeming with vile, hateful content. If you aren’t careful, you can quickly go down the rabbit hole and wind up judging twitter as this awful place with awful people. But here’s the thing – Twitter is simply our society in 140 character form. There are good people, bad people, funny people, dumb people. And very ignorant people. And the truth is, there are more ignorant, dumb people out there in the world than you probably realize. Twitter, like all social media, helps shine a light on that.
Mike Bell is a steakhead who – at least at the moment – has an afternoon sports talk radio program in Atlanta with Carl Dukes. What I’ve been told is that sports talk radio in Atlanta is sort of like the fan support of their teams – pedestrian, at best. Anyway, Bell decided he didn’t want no woman in a broadcast booth when he was watchin’ some sportz! He took a lot of shots at her, suggesting the moldy old argument that Joe Morgan used to trot out about Bill James – someone who didn’t play the game at the level they’re commentating on are not qualified to comment on it. Bell did not seem to make the connection that he was never an NFL player but provides analysis of the Falcons for 92.9 FM in Atlanta. Huh.
Anyway, Mike apparently wasn’t getting enough attention with his rants against her being there to begin with. So he decided to amp it up and instead of just saying she didn’t know enough, he went misogynistic:
Whoa. I saw that thanks to Honey Roy Palmer, a somewhat obscure twitter feed I enjoy (the name references a movie I enjoyed years ago, Diggstown). My first thought was that Bell would show his true colors as the coward he clearly is and scrub the tweet. So I quickly screen-capped it and decided to share it in the tweet I embedded above.
You’ll note that in my BS tweet, I didn’t pass judgment. I simply said history was made and here’s what one Atlanta radio guy thought of it. While I love to put opinions on twitter – this entire site was founded on the principle of giving strong opinions – sometimes I think it’s better to just put something out there and let others decide.
We’ve only got 8,000-some followers, so we’re far from a bellwether for what’s happening or a feed that an effect change. But twitter is a funny thing and somehow it got around. It turns out that seemingly nobody else had screen-grabbed it before Bell, predictably, deleted it. But weirdly, he continued defending his position and telling everyone they were too PC and too stupid and blah blah blah, the lather, rinse, repeat that so many dopes like this do as they wriggle around in the quicksand and get hopelessly deeper.
“Atlanta radio host Mike Bell, for example, decided to steal a line from Ron Burgundy and called Mendoza “Tits McGee.” But Boiled Sports decided to send out a screenshot of Bell’s tweet, and he was forced to apologize. (Bell was suspended Wednesday.)”
That makes it sound like we elected to get Mike in trouble. Again, I posted it simply to show anyone listening to us what some of the meatheads in the world were saying. Why was it significant when so many boneheads were saying bonehead things? Well, because Mike Bell is (theoretically) a broadcast professional. He should understand the business and how important this was to women. He has a wife, it appears, too, so he should also understand how women may not want to be publicly referred to as “Tits McGhee.” But Bell is a guy with a platform and when people with that kind of platform behaves obnoxiously, it’s more than fair game to point it out.
Look, here’s the thing. I’m not some women’s suffrage fanatic. I don’t claim to be a defender of women’s rights. Hell, we used to have a feature at this site where we looked at pics of hot women. However, that does not mean we think saying disrespectful things towards women in the media is a legitimate way of criticizing them. I guess what I’m saying here is that, like most men, I’m sure I have my own sexist habits. But I’d much rather be the dude who says a woman is easy on the eyes than one who says boobs don’t belong in the broadcast booth.
If you cannot stand Pam Ward because she’s just not good at her job – that’s okay! That’s more than okay. If you’re judging her work and you don’t like it, by all means, you’re totally cool saying that. However, what’s not cool with most civilized people is saying she shouldn’t be in the booth because she has lady parts. That’s just dumb and you simply should not do that.
Sure, through the many tweets in agreement with us were still the mouth-breathers who told us “durr, freedom of speech, man!”
Yes, see, here’s the thing on freedom of speech. The first amendment simply says that no law can be created abridging the freedom of speech. But employers can fire for things you say and we are all allowed to judge you for the dumb things you say. The constitution provides you no protection from your own dumb remarks and ignorant opinions. Or, rather, the only protection it provides is that you can’t be arrested for them. And to be sure, Mike Bell is still free this evening.
In fact, he’s got some extra free time because he was suspended by 92.9 FM in Atlanta:
— 92.9 The Game (@929TheGame) October 7, 2015
Even the Falcons were pissed:
Embarrassed by Mike Bell’s comments, given he’s on our flagship station. Inappropriate and disappointing.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 7, 2015
Just as I didn’t pass judgment in my original tweet, I’ll say here that I never intended for that to cost this guy his job. I won’t shed a tear for him if it does since it was him who put it out there to his, well, I’d tell you how many followers but Mike has nuked his twitter account entirely now. I guess that was quicker than trying to delete all the ignorant, sexist crap he had out there.
Then, of course, even some of the articles mentioning the fiasco were dismissive of how offensive it was to women – Rachel Nichols (who I hung out with at a wedding in 2002 – have I ever told you that story?) set them straight, though.
In the end, it was a weird series of events and I feel a little dirty being repeatedly associated with Mike Bell. The thing I would take away from this is to suggest all doofuses (doofi?) out there think about whether they’d like their wife/girlfriend/sister/mom referred to in a sexist way before they do so about someone else on twitter or any other social media platform.