Only until his controversial comments cost the station money did WEEI's parent company, Entercom Communications, decide to act, suspending co-host Kirk Minihane on Friday for comments made about FOX Sports' reporter Erin Andrews after FOX pulled all of its advertising from Entercom stations nationwide, including WEEI.
Michael Parente (@michaelparente)
Kirk Minihane is aiming his venom at the wrong subject. The real “gutless bitch” in the Minihane-Erin Andrews fiasco is Entercom Communications.
The powers that be at Entercom, the parent company of Boston-based sports radio network WEEI, had no problem standing by their man when Minihane uttered his now infamous “gutless bitch” remark during the “Dennis and Callahan” show in reference to Andrews, the FOX Sports sideline reporter who drew Minihane’s ire during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game for lobbing softball questions at Cardinals’ pitcher Adam Wainwright.
Not until Minihane’s insensitivity and borderline misogyny cost the station money did Entercom decide to act, suspending Minihane Friday night for one week after a second round of comments aimed toward Andrews prompted FOX Sports to pull its advertising from all Entercom stations nationwide and prohibit its media personalities from appearing as guests on WEEI.
Neither WEEI nor its parent company had a problem with Minihane calling Andrews a “gutless bitch” or telling her to “drop dead.” The station accepted Minihane’s online apology, posted as a blog entry on its website later that night, with Entercom vice president and market manager Phil Zachary agreeing Minihane learned some “hard lessons” following the initial backlash. The parties involved moved on with their lives and Minihane embarked on his previously-scheduled vacation with no fear or threat of repercussion.
Upon returning to the station Wednesday, Minihane further explained why he finds Andrews so offensive, suggesting FOX only hired her because of her looks and “if she weighed 15 pounds more she’d be a waitress.” Neither WEEI nor Entercom had a problem with that either, even going as far as to post the full audio from Minihane’s Wednesday rant under the headline, “The triumphant return of Kirk Minihane.”
What changed between Wednesday and Friday? Entercom’s sponsorship revenue. In a statement issued Friday night, Entercom president and CEO David Field said Minihane’s comments were “offensive and deplorable” and “do not reflect Entercom’s values and standards.” If you believe this rubbish, you, too should “drop dead.” Nobody at Entercom had a problem with Minihane’s edgy, controversial opinions until it cost the parent company money, and Entercom’s lame, last-ditch effort to play “good cop” in this scenario comes off as a disingenuous attempt to win back FOX’s money.
If Entercom truly found Minihane offensive, deplorable, unacceptable, whatever, it would’ve acted immediately after he dropped the “gutless bitch” bomb a week and a half ago. Instead, the powers that be let it go until someone with real influence chose to take its own moral stand, and then it piggybacked off the deluge with its too-little, too-late suspension of Minihane in an attempt to show that they, too, don’t tolerate such nonsense, even if they already proved they did.
Don't think for a second WEEI didn't love the attention following Minihane's initial outburst. The network needs all the publicity it can get with crosstown rival 98.5 The Sports Hub kicking its ass up and down the ratings in nearly every time slot. After Minihane spouted off the first time, both he and WEEI found themselves all over every newsfeed, locally and nationally, for the next few days, finally beating 98.5 at something. Then as soon as the you-know-what hit the fan, Entercom dimed out Minihane faster than Sammy The Bull, even though he was right on the money with his assessment of FOX’s hiring practice, a sentiment shared by columnists, media critics and other talking heads with far more influence.
The same network pissed off at Minihane for suggesting it hired Andrews based on her looks recently announced it would be replacing well-respected, 53-year-old veteran sideline reporter Pam Oliver on its No. 1 broadcast team with the perky, blonde 36-year-old Andrews beginning in September. Adding insult to injury, FOX sent out a demeaning press release announcing Oliver had been “elevated to senior correspondent,” a fancy term for “demotion” that fooled absolutely no one.
Again, talk about “gutless.” FOX can’t have it both ways. The network can’t just take its ball and go home when people suggest Andrews got her job based on her looks after it promoted Andrews to the No. 1 broadcast team in lieu of a dignified, experienced, well-connected reporter who’s done the job admirably for the past two decades.
Not being able to handle criticism – or being called out on your own hypocrisy – without kicking everyone else out of the sandbox is as gutless as it gets, and FOX should be embarrassed for overreacting, even if it’s simply sticking up for one of its own employees, but nobody is more gutless in this situation than Entercom for turning on Minihane after initially coming to his defense and dropping to its knees begging for its sponsorship money back.
In the end, everyone except Minihane laughs last since Minihane is the one suspended without pay, but at least he stuck to his guns on this one and didn’t change his tune like a “gutless bitch.”
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