Empty Apologies

As a dad of a daughter, this has been a pretty amazing week, Ronda Rousey becomes the first female on the cover of the Australian version of Men's Fitness, stopped by Mike and Mike, and co-hosted Sportscenter as the first female athlete to do so.

Also this week Jessica Mendoza became the first female to work as an analyst during baseball's post season. As someone who is constantly looking for role models that I am comfortable pointing my daughter in direction of, this week was uplifting - until we were all graced with Mike Bell's tweets about Jessica Mendoza new job.

The first tweet was a parody of a line from Anchorman:


And as every closed minded misogynistic sports radio anchor does, he goes on. 

And on...

This is not to say that all sports radio hosts feel this way, but I tend to think a lot of them just have better filters. Which honestly better because at least they understand that free speech is not free of consequence and still hold on to their own opinions, no matter how wrong they might be. And as is predictable in the world of instant communication, Mike Bell instantly issued an apology. 

“I didn’t get it,” he said. “I get it now. There is no place for that kind of stuff on my show. I will be more mindful. I hope I can be a better talk show host and better person. This has been an eye-opening experience.”

It goes on to explain that he felt that analysts should be professionals or former professionals from said sport, in this case baseball. But let's unpack this for what it is, a chance to keep his job. As of this writing he will be back on the air on Monday so, he got a long weekend to enjoy baseball for his gaff, which is to say it isn't as if he all of a sudden "get's it" and that women should be equal to men because that isn't authentic or even realistic.

Instead, he seems bent that his beloved sports world is moving forward and bringing in a new audience in hopes of increasing attendance which is moving in the wrong direction. TV viewing however is up this year and a great gateway drug to get new fans to enjoy the pennant race on TV and then convert them into buying a ticket where the real money for the franchise is.

Instead, this broadcaster took to twitter (he has deleted his account) to take down a colleague for sport and then apologize afterwards for his awful and unscientific assessment of both fast-pitch softball and women in the role of analysts.

I am amazed that radio still strives to keep people like this, especially when the NFL team your station is the flagship for thinks you should bounce him.

There has been some positive movement in this regard as both CBS and ESPN have started female hosted sports talk shows but, that doesn't even put a dent in the disparity which only points to the importance of this moment. Every word that you say has meaning and if you are a broadcaster or anyone with an audience (which these days is most of us) there needs to be a lens through which you put your comments to determine the effect it might have. Because the wash, rinse, repeat cycle of tweet dumb shit, delete account, and apologize makes the tweet more powerful and the apology, empty. 

Eric HultgrenComment