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Boomer Esiason Won’t Let Boomer and Gio Lose or Cystic Fibrosis Win

“I think Gunnar, at the age of 31 and having his own child and now starting a whole new life because of new drug development due to the money we’ve raised along with the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was kind of my calling.”

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When the Boomer and Carton morning show on WFAN launched on September 4th, 2007, there was some uncertainty if the show was going to be a success.

In fact, co-host Boomer Esiason wasn’t quite sure if it was going to be a long-term gig.  

“Initially, I’d be lying if I said yes,” said the former NFL Most Valuable Player. “I really didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I was going to enjoy it as much as I do. I watched Imus all those years and I really felt like he enjoyed what he did. I never knew that I would get as hooked on it as I had become about six months into it.”

And there were others at WFAN who had their doubts about whether the new morning show was going to work because there was a feeling that it wasn’t going to be a good fit for Boomer.

“I think that’s probably why there were many around (WFAN) including Mike (Francesa) and Chris (Russo) that felt like I’d be done with this after about six months and that there would be no reason for me to do something like this,” said Esiason. “It took me a while to get acclimated but what also helped was working with the maniac Craig (Carton) who kept everyday a complete surprise. I never knew what was coming out of his bag of tricks as we got started.”  

To say it worked would be an understatement.

Almost 15 years later, Esiason is still holding down mornings at WFAN. He now co-hosts Boomer and Gio alongside Gregg Giannotti, which is also simulcast on television on the CBS Sports Network.  

Esiason’s goal was to bring an athlete’s credibility to the show, but he realized early on that a morning talk show, even on an all-sports radio station, had to sound different than any other show. It wasn’t just about Joe from Saddle River calling in to talk about the Jets. The show had to be a mix of what was going on in the sports world along with fun and entertainment.

And in Craig Carton, Boomer had with him a co-host that introduced him to the world of morning radio.

“Once I realized what Craig was doing, I then kind of had to rethink the way I was going about things and not be taking myself or the athlete all that seriously,” said Esiason.  

“I felt like I was the straight guy and Craig was the loose cannon but in a funny way. The longer we worked together, the easier it was for us to become intertwined with improvisation. If there was a dead day with not much sports to talk about, that meant we had other avenues to go down and some of those were uncomfortable for me to go down.”

For Esiason, the most uncomfortable moment for him had to be on September 6th, 2017 when Carton was arrested by the FBI on charges of securities and wire fraud as a result of a Ponzi scheme. Boomer broke the news to his audience that morning and Carton subsequently stepped down from WFAN creating a vacancy in the chair next to him.

It didn’t take long for Esiason to realize who his new co-host might be. On the day that Carton was arrested, long-time WFAN employee Vicky Biello told Boomer it would be Gregg Giannotti, who was already working down the hall hosting the morning show on CBS Sports Radio.

“She said Gio was going to be my next partner,” said Esiason. “She knew because she had seen Gio around here for a long time. I knew Gio. I had taken him to Monday Night games and different things. It was just a matter of whether or not he would ever get comfortable doing it the way I got used to doing it. It took him a few months to really get comfortable and once he did, I felt like we had the same kind of magic that I had with Craig.”

WFAN announced Giannotti as Boomer’s new partner on November 15th, 2017 and the Boomer and Gio morning show debuted on January 2nd, 2018.

The show remains a smash hit.

“I’m not surprised at all,” said Esiason. “I would have never let the show get lost or lose. I was too far into it. We had to find somebody who had the nuts and bolts of radio but also could be extremely funny and knowledgeable about where we’re from because it’s still local radio even though it’s on a national television network.”

In addition to WFAN, Boomer remains busy with his other broadcasting gigs including The NFL Today on CBS and his syndicated Gametime with Boomer Esiason program. His itch to get into broadcasting started as a huge sports fan growing up on Long Island and continued during his college days at the University of Maryland.

Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2nd round of the 1984 NFL Draft, Boomer experienced his first taste of broadcasting while he was still playing. Esiason served as an analyst for World League of American Football Monday night telecasts on the USA Network during the 1990 and 1991 season.  

It was easy to see that Esiason would have a future in broadcasting and that the best was yet to come…or so he thought.

After his playing career was over, Esiason signed a four-year deal in 1998 to join Al Michaels in the booth for ABC’s Monday Night Football. It’s been well documented that Esiason and Michaels didn’t have the greatest relationship and Esiason left the booth after just two seasons.

Boomer wondered if broadcasting was still going to be part of his life.  

“You have to remember…I’m surrounded by all sorts of allies and guys that I got along with immensely,” said Esiason. “I had this notion of how great broadcasting can be. What I didn’t realize was how insecure this industry can be. I go to ABC and unfortunately it doesn’t go well with me and Al Michaels and I have to re-evaluate what I thought broadcasting was.”

Boomer was quickly hired by Westwood One to do the national NFL radio broadcasts, which put him back in a booth for Monday Night Football, playoff games and a record run of 19 straight national radio broadcasts of the Super Bowl.

Boomer was feeling better about broadcasting.

“Thankfully, I got to work with Howard David, Marv Albert and Kevin Harlan in the radio booth,” said Esiason. “All three of those guys, along with the occasional Dave Sims and a few other play-by-players, made broadcasting fun again.” 

Esiason joined The NFL Today studio show on CBS in 2002. Between that, the national radio broadcasts and his WFAN morning show, Boomer was juggling three huge jobs from 2007 until he stepped away from the Westwood One broadcasts in 2018.

It was time for Boomer to cut his schedule a bit.

“Doing all of that was exhausting,” added Esiason. “Finally, I came to the realization that I couldn’t do it anymore and try to remain a normal human being.”  

There was never a question of the passion that Boomer had for the game of football during his playing career or the passion that he currently has for his broadcasting jobs. There is however one thing that has kept him more focused and determined over the last 25 years than anything else; the work he does to raise money for the fight against Cystic Fibrosis.

For him, it’s personal.

In 1993, Esiason was traded by the Bengals to his hometown New York Jets. It was during training camp that summer when Esiason was told that his two-year-old son Gunnar had difficulty breathing and was taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Esiason launched the Boomer Esiason Foundation to raise money and awareness for the fight against CF. All of his broadcasting duties over the years supported him giving him a platform to get the word out.

“I had to try and save my son’s life,” said Esiason. “I think Gunnar, at the age of 31 and having his own child and now starting a whole new life because of new drug development due to the money we’ve raised along with the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was kind of my calling,” said Esiason.  

“I had so much on my plate that every time I tried to do something, I always had in mind if it was another platform that I can promote what I was doing in real life for real people. It’s one of the things that has kept me going. To be able to say that I’ve raised over $170 million in the fight against CF over the last 25 years, is nothing short of a miracle but it’s due in large part to the companies I’ve worked for.”  

Between the foundation, WFAN, The NFL Today and his other broadcasting duties, Boomer still has a pretty full plate these days. In 2020, he made an unexpected trip back to a broadcast booth during the pandemic when Tony Romo came down with COVID-19 and CBS asked him to fly to Los Angeles and work with Jim Nantz on a Cardinals/Rams telecast. 

And that begs the question…would Esiason ever consider even as much as a part-time return to broadcasting NFL games?

“I’ve always told (Westwood One Executive Vice-President) Howard Deneroff if he needed me in New York for a Monday Night, I’d be more than happy to show up and do it,” said Esiason. “I think that ship has probably sailed. Certainly, CBS knows that they have me. I could do it in my sleep, but if I go and try and do that again, I’ll probably be asleep for a long time and never get up.”

Boomer Esiason continues to get up every morning to co-host one of the most popular shows on New York radio. With everything else that he’s busy with, he still manages to carve out time to spend with his family and watch his beloved New York Rangers and New York Mets. He lived the good life as an NFL quarterback and has certainly enjoyed a stellar broadcast career to go along with his philanthropic work.

Now as far as a return to the broadcast booth, I could also use an experienced analyst for Long Island high school football telecasts!

Just kidding Boomer…but seriously let me know!

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BSM Writers

In Defense Of Colin Cowherd

“How did we get to this place where there are sites and Twitter accounts going through The Herd with a fine-toothed comb to create content out of ‘oh my god, look at this!’?”

Demetri Ravanos

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I don’t understand what it is about Colin Cowherd that gets under some people’s skin to the point that they feel everything the guy says is worth being mocked. I don’t always agree with a lot of his opinions myself, but rarely do I hear one of his takes and think I need to build content around how stupid the guy is.

Cowherd has certainly had his share of misses. There were some highlights to his constant harping on Baker Mayfield but personally, I thought the bit got boring quickly and that the host was only shooting about 25% on those segments.

Cowherd has said some objectionable things. I thought Danny O’Neil was dead on in pointing out that the FOX Sports Radio host sounded like LIV Golf’s PR department last month. It doesn’t matter if he claims he used the wrong words or if his language was clunky, he deserved all of the criticism he got in 2015 when he said that baseball couldn’t be that hard of a sport to understand because a third of the league is from the Dominican Republic.

Those missteps and eyebrow-raising moments have never been the majority of his content though. How did we get to this place where there are sites and Twitter accounts going through The Herd with a fine-toothed comb to create content out of “oh my god, look at this!”?

A few years ago, Dan Le Batard said something to the effect of the best thing he can say about Colin Cowherd is that he is never boring and if you are not in this business, you do not get what a compliment that is.

That’s the truth, man. It is so hard to talk into the ether for three hours and keep people engaged, but Cowherd finds a way to do it with consistency.

The creativity that requires is what has created a really strange environment where you have sites trying to pass off pointing and laughing at Cowherd as content. This jumped out to me with a piece that Awful Announcing published on Thursday about Cowherd’s take that Aaron Rodgers needs a wife.

Look, I don’t think every single one of Cowherd’s analogies or societal observations is dead on, but to point this one out as absurd is, frankly, absurd!

This isn’t Cowherd saying that John Wall coming out and doing the Dougie is proof that he is a loser. This isn’t him saying that adults in backward hats look like doofuses (although, to be fair to Colin, where is the lie in that one?).

“Behind every successful man is a strong woman” is a take as old as success itself. It may not be a particularly original observation, but it hardly deserves the scrutiny of a 450-word think piece.

On top of that, he is right about Aaron Rodgers. The guy has zero personality and is merely trying on quirks to hold our attention. Saying that the league MVP would benefit from someone in his life holding a mirror up to him and pointing that out is hardly controversial.

Colin Cowherd is brash. He has strong opinions. He will acknowledge when there is a scoreboard or a record to show that he got a game or record pick wrong, but he will rarely say his opinion about a person or situation is wrong. That can piss people off. I get it.

You know that Twitter account Funhouse? The handle is @BackAftaThis?

It was created to spotlight the truly insane moments Mike Francesa delivered on air. There was a time when the standard was ‘The Sports Pop’e giving the proverbial finger to a recently deceased Stan Lee, falling asleep on air, or vehemently denying that a microphone captured his fart.

Now the feed is turning to “Hey Colin Cowherd doesn’t take phone calls!”. Whatever the motivation is for turning on Cowherd like that, it really shows a dip in the ability to entertain. How is it even content to point out that Colin Cowherd doesn’t indulge in the single most boring part of sports radio?

I will be the first to admit that I am not the world’s biggest fan of The Herd. Solo hosts will almost never be my thing. No matter their energy level, a single person talking for a 10-12 minute stretch feels more like a lecture than entertainment to me. I got scolded enough as a kid by parents and teachers.

School is a good analogy here because that is sort of what this feels like. The self-appointed cool kids identified their target long ago and are going to mock him for anything he does. It doesn’t matter if they carry lunch boxes too, Colin looks like a baby because he has a lunch box.

Colin Cowherd doesn’t need me to defend him. He can point to his FOX paycheck, his followers, or the backing for The Volume as evidence that he is doing something right. I am merely doing what these sites think they are doing when Colin is in their crosshairs – pointing out a lame excuse for content that has no real value.

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BSM Writers

Even After Radio Hall of Fame Honor, Suzyn Waldman Looks Forward

WFAN recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, but that’s not something that Waldman spends too much time reflecting on.

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Yankees radio broadcaster Suzyn Waldman was at Citi Field on July 26th getting ready to broadcast a Subway Series game between the Yankees and Mets. A day earlier, Waldman was elected to the Radio Hall of Fame and sometimes that type of attention can, admittedly, make her feel a bit uncomfortable.

“At first, I was really embarrassed because I’m not good at this,” said Waldman. “I don’t take compliments well and I don’t take awards well. I just don’t. The first time it got to me…that I actually thought it was pretty cool, there were two little boys at Citi Field…

Those two little boys, with photos of Waldman in hand, saw her on the field and asked her a question.

“They asked me to sign “Suzyn Waldman Radio Hall of Fame 2022” and I did,” said Waldman.  “I just smiled and then more little boys asked me to do that.”  

Waldman, along with “Broadway” Bill Lee, Carol Miller, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Ellen K, Jeff Smulyan, Lon Helton, Marv Dyson, and Walt “Baby” Love, make up the Class of 2022 for the Radio Hall of Fame and will be inducted at a ceremony on November 1st at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago.

Waldman, born in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, was the first voice heard on WFAN in New York when the station launched on July 1st, 1987. She started as an update anchor before becoming a beat reporter for the Yankees and Knicks and the co-host of WFAN’s
mid-day talk show. In the mid 1990s, Waldman did some television play-by-play for Yankees games on WPIX and in 2002 she became the clubhouse reporter for Yankees telecasts when the YES Network launched.

This is Waldman’s 36th season covering the Yankees and her 18th in the radio booth, a run that started in 2005 when she became the first female full-time Major League Baseball broadcaster.

She decided to take a look at the names that are currently in the Hall of Fame, specifically individuals that she will forever be listed next to.

“Some of the W’s are Orson Wells and Walter Winchell…people that changed the industry,” said Waldman. “I get a little embarrassed…I’m not good at this but I’m really happy.”

Waldman has also changed the industry.

She may have smiled when those two little boys asked her to sign those photos, but Waldman can also take a lot of pride in the fact that she has been a trailblazer in the broadcasting business and an inspiration to a lot of young girls who aspire, not only to be sportscasters but those who want to have a career in broadcasting.

Like the young woman who just started working at a New York television station who approached Waldman at the Subway Series and just wanted to meet her.

“She stopped me and was shaking,” said Waldman. “The greatest thing is that all of these young women that are out there.”

Waldman pointed out that there are seven women that she can think of off the top of her head that are currently doing minor league baseball play-by-play and that there have been young female sports writers that have come up to her to share their stories about how she inspired them.

For many years, young boys were inspired to be sportscasters by watching and listening to the likes of Marv Albert, Al Michaels, Vin Scully, Bob Costas, and Joe Buck but now there are female sportscasters, like Waldman, who have broken down barriers and are giving young girls a good reason to follow their dreams.

“When I’ve met them, they’ve said to me I was in my car with my Mom and Dad when I was a very little girl and they were listening to Yankee games and there you were,” said Waldman. “These young women never knew this was something that they couldn’t do because I was there and we’re in the third generation of that now. It’s taken longer than I thought.”

There have certainly been some challenges along the way in terms of women getting opportunities in sports broadcasting.

Waldman thinks back to 1994 when she became the first woman to do a national television baseball broadcast when she did a game for The Baseball Network. With that milestone came a ton of interviews that she had to do with media outlets around the country including Philadelphia.

It was during an interview with a former Philadelphia Eagle on a radio talk show when Waldman received a unique backhanded compliment that she will always remember.

“I’ve listened to you a lot and I don’t like you,” Waldman recalls the former Eagle said. “I don’t like women in sports…I don’t like to listen to you but I was watching the game with my 8-year-old daughter and she was watching and I looked at her and thought this is something she’s never going to know that she cannot do because there you are.”

Throughout her career, Waldman has experienced the highest of highs in broadcasting but has also been on the receiving end of insults and cruel intentions from people who then tend to have a short memory.

And many of these people were co-workers.

“First people laugh at you, then they make your life miserable and then they go ‘oh yeah that’s the way it is’ like it’s always been like that but it’s not always been like this,” said Waldman. 

It hasn’t always been easy for women in broadcasting and as Waldman — along with many others — can attest to nothing is perfect today. But it’s mind-boggling to think about what Waldman had to endure when WFAN went on the air in 1987.

She remembers how badly she was treated by some of her colleagues.

“I think about those first terrible days at ‘FAN,” said Waldman. “I had been in theatre all my life and it was either you get the part or you don’t. They either like you or they don’t.  You don’t have people at your own station backstabbing you and people at your own station changing your tapes to make you look like an idiot.”

There was also this feeling that some players were not all that comfortable with Waldman being in the clubhouse and locker room. That was nothing compared to some of the other nonsense that Waldman had to endure.

“The stuff with players is very overblown,” said Waldman. “It’s much worse when you know that somebody out there is trying to kill you because you have a Boston accent and you’re trying to talk about the New York Yankees. That’s worse and it’s also worse when the people
that you work with don’t talk to you and think that you’re a joke and the people at your own station put you down for years and years and years.”

While all of this was happening, Waldman had one very important person in her corner: Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away in 2010.

The two had a special relationship and he certainly would have relished the moment when Suzyn was elected to the Hall of Fame.

“I think about George Steinbrenner a lot,” said Waldman. “This is something that when I heard that…I remember thinking George would be so proud because he wanted this since ’88.  I just wish he were here.” 

Waldman certainly endeared herself to “The Boss” with her reporting but she also was the driving force behind the reconciliation of Steinbrenner and Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra. George had fired Yogi as Yankees manager 16 games into the 1985 season and the news was delivered to Berra, not by George, but by Steinbrenner advisor Clyde King.

Yogi vowed never to step foot into Yankee Stadium again, but a grudge that lasted almost 14 years ended in 1999 when Waldman facilitated a reunion between the two at the Yogi Berra Museum in New Jersey.

“I’m hoping that my thank you to him was the George and Yogi thing because I know he wanted that very badly,” said Waldman.

“Whatever I did to prove to him that I was serious about this…this is in ’87 and ’88…In 1988, I remember him saying to me ‘Waldman, one of these days I’m going to make a statement about women in sports.  You’re it and I hope you can take it’ (the criticism). He knew what was coming.  I didn’t know. But there was always George who said ‘if you can take it, you’re going to make it’.”

And made it she did.

And she has outlasted every single person on the original WFAN roster.

“I’m keenly aware that I was the first person they tried to fire and I’m the only one left which I think is hysterical actually that I outlived everybody,” said Waldman.

WFAN recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, but that’s not something that Waldman spends too much time reflecting on.

“I don’t think about it at all because once you start looking back, you’re not going forward,” said Waldman. 

Waldman does think about covering the 1989 World Series between the A’s and Giants and her reporting on the earthquake that was a defining moment in her career. She has always been a great reporter and a storyteller, but that’s not how her WFAN career began. She started as an update anchor and she knew that if she was going to have an impact on how WFAN was going to evolve, it was not going to be reading the news…it was going to be going out in the field and reporting the news.

“I was doing updates which I despised and wasn’t very good at,” said Waldman.

She went to the program director at the time and talked about how WFAN had newspaper writers covering the local teams for the station and that it would be a better idea for her to go out and cover games and press conferences.

“Give me a tape recorder and let me go,” is what Waldman told the program director. “I was the first electronic beat writer.  That’s how that started and they said ‘oh, this works’. The writers knew all of a sudden ‘uh oh she can put something on the air at 2 o’clock in the morning and I can’t’.”  

And the rest is history. Radio Hall of Fame history.

But along the way, there was never that moment where she felt that everything was going to be okay.

Because it can all disappear in a New York minute.

“I’ve never had that moment,” said Waldman. “I see things going backward in a lot of ways for women.  I’m very driven and I’m very aware that it can all be taken away in two seconds if some guy says that’s enough.” 

During her storied career, Waldman has covered five Yankees World Series championships and there’s certainly the hope that they can contend for another title this year. She loves her job and the impact that she continues to make on young girls who now have that dream to be the next Suzyn Waldman.

But, is there something in the business that she still hopes to accomplish?

“This is a big world,” said Waldman. “There’s always something to do. Right now I like this a lot and there’s still more to do. There are more little girls…somewhere there’s a little girl out there who is talking into a tape recorder or whatever they use now and her father is telling her or someone is telling her you can’t do that you’re a little girl. That hasn’t stopped. Somewhere out there there’s somebody that needs to hear a female voice on Yankees radio.”

To steal the spirit of a line from Yankees play-by-play voice John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman’s longtime friend, and broadcast partner…“that’s a Radio Hall of Fame career, Suzyn!”

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BSM Writers

No Winners in Pittsburgh vs Cleveland Radio War of Words

“As talk radio hosts, we often try to hold the moral high ground and if you’re going to hold that position, I can’t help but feel integrity has to outweigh popularity. “

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For nearly 18 months, we’ve known the NFL would eventually have to confront the Deshaun Watson saga in an on-the-field manner, and that day came Monday. After his March trade to the Browns, we also could more than likely deduce another item: Cleveland radio hosts would feel one way, and Pittsburgh hosts would feel another.

If you’re not in tune to the “rivalry” between the two cities, that’s understandable. Both are former industrial cities looking for an identity in a post-industrial Midwest. Each thinks the other is a horrible place to live, with no real reasoning other than “at least we’re not them”. Of course, the folks in Pittsburgh point to six Super Bowl victories as reason for superiority.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when news started to leak that a Watson decision would come down Monday. I was sure, however, that anyone who decided to focus on what the NFL’s decision would mean for Watson and the Browns on the field was in a no-win situation. As a former host on a Cleveland Browns radio affiliate, I always found the situation difficult to talk about. Balancing the very serious allegations with what it means for Watson, the Browns, and the NFL always felt like a tight-rope walk destined for failure.

So I felt for 92.3 The Fan’s Ken Carman and Anthony Lima Monday morning, knowing they were in a delicate spot. They seemed to allude to similar feelings. “You’re putting me in an awkward situation here,” Carman told a caller after that caller chanted “Super Bowl! Super Browns!” moments after the suspension length was announced.

Naturally, 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi happened to turn on the radio just as that call happened. A nearly week-long war of words ensued between the two Audacy-owned stations.

Fillipponi used the opportunity to slam Cleveland callers and used it as justification to say the NFL was clearly in the wrong. Carman and Lima pointed out Fillipponi had tweeted three days earlier about how much love the city of Pittsburgh had for Ben Roethlisberger, a player with past sexual assault allegations in his own right.

Later in the week, the Cleveland duo defended fans from criticism they viewed as unfair from the national media. In response, Dorin Dickerson and Adam Crowley of the Pittsburgh morning show criticized Carman and Lima for taking that stance.

Keeping up?

As an impartial observer, there’s one main takeaway I couldn’t shake. Both sides are wrong. Both sides are right. No one left the week looking good.

Let’s pretend the Pittsburgh Steelers had traded for Deshaun Watson on March 19th, and not the Browns. Can you envision a scenario where Cleveland radio hosts would defend the NFL for the “fairness” of the investigation and disciplinary process if he was only suspended for six games? Of course, you can’t, because that would be preposterous. At the same time, would Fillipponi, Dickerson, and other Pittsburgh hosts be criticizing their fans for wanting Watson’s autograph? Of course, you can’t, because that would be preposterous.

When you’re discussing “my team versus your team” or “my coach versus your coach” etc…, it’s ok to throw ration and logic to the side for the sake of entertaining radio. But when you’re dealing with an incredibly serious matter, in this case, an investigation into whether an NFL quarterback is a serial sexual predator, I don’t believe there’s room to throw ration and logic to the wind. The criticism of Carman and Lima from the Pittsburgh station is fair and frankly warranted. They tried their best, in my opinion, to be sensitive to a topic that warranted it, but fell short.

On the flip side, Carman and Lima are correct. Ben Roethlisberger was credibly accused of sexual assault. Twice. And their criticism of Fillipponi and Steelers fans is valid and frankly warranted.

You will often hear me say “it can be both” because so often today people try to make every situation black and white. In reality, there’s an awful lot of gray in our world. But, in this case, it can’t be both. It can’t be Deshaun Watson, and Browns fans by proxy, are horrible, awful, no good, downright rotten people, and Ben Roethlisberger is a beloved figure.

Pot, meet kettle.

I don’t know what Andrew Fillipponi said about Ben Roethlisberger’s sexual assault allegations in 2010. And if I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it, but I’m guessing he sounded much more like Carman and Lima did this week, rather than the person criticizing hosts in another market for their lack of moral fiber. Judging by the tweet Carman and Lima used to point out Fillipponi’s hypocrisy, I have a hard time believing the Pittsburgh host had strong outrage about the Steelers bringing back the franchise QB.

Real courage comes from saying things your listeners might find unpopular. It’s also where real connections with your listeners are built. At the current time in our hyper-polarized climate, having the ability to say something someone might disagree with is a lost art. But it’s also the key to keeping credibility and building a reputation that you’ll say whatever you truly believe that endears you to your audience.

And in this case, on a day the NFL announced they now employ a player who — in the league’s view — is a serial sexual assaulter, to hear hosts describe a six-game suspension as “reasonable” felt unreasonable. As talk radio hosts, we often try to hold the moral high ground and if you’re going to hold that position, I can’t help but feel integrity has to outweigh popularity.

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