Rich Eisen Praises Jess Mendoza, Promptly Pisses Off Old Radio Dudes
John Dennis and Gerry Callahan are two old, out of touch radio personalities who used to be important fixtures in Boston sports media and have done a very poor job at surrendering their relevance gracefully. So it should come as no surprise that the co-hosts, whose morning radio show for WEEI has been a magnet for controversy and consists largely of uninformed lowbrow social commentary, took issue with Rich Eisen for supporting a...::gasp!::...woman in the ESPN booth for Tuesday night's MLB playoff game.
Jessica Mendoza, a former Olympic gold-medalist softball player, made history as the first woman to ever call a playoff game when she joined Dan Schulman, John Kruk and Chris Archer in the booth for the Yankees-Astros game. Her historical debut comes on the heels of being the first woman in the booth for an ESPN broadcast in August when she replaced Curt Schilling, who has been suspended since August 25th after he put out a tweet that compared Muslims to Nazis.
Apparently Dennis is not a believer in ESPN's suspension of Schilling, and is even less amused by the media by-and-large voicing their support for Mendoza to succeed him permanently. Here is his Twitter interaction with Rich Eisen, of the NFL Network and host of The Rich Eisen Show:
If you are from outside of Boston and were reading Eisen's interaction with Dennis on Twitter, you could easily have mistaken him for just another attention-seeking internet troll because that's what he sounds like. And apparently the "pandering" theory is supported by Dennis' co-host Callahan as well, as he piled on; going so far as to accuse Eisen of supporting Mendoza in an insincere attempt to be politically correct.
Apparently it's impossible for these sports media fossils to believe that a fellow white male could possibly support a well-informed and highly qualified woman in an MLB broadcast booth if it means replacing their beloved Schilling; who whether you believe is a good analyst or not, is also an audacious magnet for drama and controversy.
Perhaps Dennis and Callahan can't tell the difference between good television and sensationalist crap after years of enduring their own scandals; like comparing gorillas to inner-city Boston school children, or referring to "fruitcakes sashaying" in front of children and families at Fenway Park, or interviewing and promoting the book of an admitted Whitey Bulger accomplice and co-murderer that had terrorized multiple South Boston families for years. (Feel free to read more about the hideous nature of the crimes committed by Weeks, whom D&C referred to as "good radio".)
Yup, those are the guys who believe they are qualified to disseminate whether Eisen - a respected sports media veteran - can form and convey his own honest opinion about a baseball analyst. Dennis also took no issue with retweeting criticism of Eisen for merely having Warren Sapp as a co-worker, which was certainly not within his control.
I may not always agree with Eisen, but he has earned the benefit of the doubt that what he says is what he actually believes. Oh and by the way, after spending an embarrassing amount of time reaming Eisen and calling him a liar and a panderer, they only contradict themselves with the assertion that it's "easy" to call Jess Mendoza great.
Hold on, it's either easy to say or it's not. If you start personally attacking someone who takes a different position from you, then you imply that the original statement wasn't an easy one to make; it is one that was met with antagonism, criticism and thorough disbelief that it was even made with any sincerity. By stating his preference for Mendoza over Schilling, Eisen had his motives questioned and his integrity insulted. That doesn't sound easy to me.
And since when is supporting a trailblazing woman in sports the popular and easy thing to do? It's often the right thing to do, and Eisen certainly showed intelligence and integrity by doing so, but as a woman in sports I can tell you that vocally supporting a woman over a man in a sports environment is not popular, despite the fact that it often should be. If it were, it would happen far more often.
It's morons like Dennis and Callahan that perpetuate the notion that Boston is full of narrow-minded bigots who can't possibly just let someone else live with an opinion different from theirs. They are the worst representation of a sports media culture that is filled with really wonderful, intelligent, passionate and empathetic people that I worked with for years. Unfortunately, the ignorant minority is always the loudest.
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