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Comments About Maria Taylor Show Talk Is Cheap, Radio Guy Pays The Price

The job is to talk and talk. And in addition to that, it’s to talk and talk and talk. And in the case of Chicago sports radio caveman Dan McNeil, the appeal was to say things in an outdated, boys-will-be-boys, locker-room kind of a way.

He has been paid to do that for decades. On Tuesday, he was fired for it. WSCR 670-AM finally had enough of McNeil (this isn’t the first time) after he tweeted about ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor’s outfit during Monday Night’s game between Pittsburgh and the New York Giants:

“NFL sideline reporter or a host for the AVN annual awards presentation,’’ McNeil tweeted.

The Adult Video News awards are basically the Academy Awards of porn. You can catch them on Showtime, or so I’ve been told.

And Twitter blew up again, much the way it did when Fox Sports 1’s Skip Bayless said last week that Dak Prescott shouldn’t have shared his feelings about anxiety and depression. But it didn’t blow up nearly as much as it did the week before, when ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said that Steve Nash getting the Brooklyn Nets coaching job was the result of “white privilege.’’

Don’t get me wrong: McNeil needed to be fired for what he said. But these talkers are paid to run all the way up to the line and push it and say the most outlandish thing without crossing over . . . much. McNeil crossed way over.

This is just what these talkers do. It’s a dance, and they’re paid to be super-aggressive. No one knows that better than Outkick’s Clay Travis and Jason Whitlock, actually.

In 2017, Travis, on Brooke Baldwin’s show on CNN, was talking about Jemele Hill calling President Trump a white supremacist on ESPN when he said he’s a First Amendment “absolutist:”

“I believe in only two things completely,’’ Travis said. “The First Amendment and boobs.’’ That shocked Baldwin, who kept asking him to repeat it. 

Whatever you think of what he said, he got national attention and there was no way, really, for him to get in trouble for it. He had hit the sweet-spot for talkers.

That’s what talkers are all after. By contrast, in 2012, Jeremy Lin scored 38 points against the Lakers and Whitlock tweeted “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight.’’

He had gone over the line, mixing in stereotyping.

Whitlock had to apologize. If he repeated that mistake today, he’d probably have to fire himself from Outkick.

Talkers cross over all the time, of course. McNeil has been on and off of radio stations and podcasts around Chicago for decades. He leaves under controversy and then someone gives him another chance because he gets ratings and then he leaves under controversy, and then . . .

Of course he said something like that. He ends up a man in his late 50s acting like a middle-schooler in the locker room of gym class because he has so many radio listeners and fans on social media who cheer him on when he does it. There are plenty of cavemen in Chicago, particularly during the Bears season, believe me.

With Smith and Bayless (and also McNeil), the idea isn’t to provide intelligent arguments on sports. It’s to get people talking about them on Twitter or other forms of social media. It’s to tap into a mob mentality that forms there. You get a large group of people who have this strange belief that they are becoming friends with people they don’t know, or barely know. 

They share their thoughts comfortably and without filter, hoping all of their fake friends on social media will provide them with an identity.

It really wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bayless said what he did about Prescott because Smith got so much attention for what he had said about Nash.

Sure, most of Smith’s attention was negative. But he’s Bayless’ competition. So Bayless pushed the line even more. And FS1 felt it had to issue a statement saying that it didn’t agree with Bayless.

“Wow!’’ Terrell Owens tweeted about Taylor and McNeil. “Y’all just feel like y’all can say whatever y’all want to under this president I see. Just speaking reckless. It was @RealSkipBayless about @dak now u about @MariaTaylor! If Skip was black, he would have been FIRED already. Relieved of his duties immediately!’’

Sorry, Terrell, but this stuff has been going on for years, long before this president. 

Bayless didn’t get fired, or suspended. Fox issued a little statement that it didn’t agree with him and then reaped the rewards: On Monday, Bayless’ show had its highest ratings in almost a year. His Prescott comments worked.

Smith wasn’t suspended or fired, either. And ESPN was rewarded with a national discussion over one of its shows. McNeil was not so lucky. He’s out of work. Again. He’ll be back eventually.

“Well Danny Dearest if you would like to continue making sexist comments about me … please bring your misogyny with you to the NBA Countdown double header I’ll be hosting tomorrow night,’’ Taylor tweeted. “Hey ladies remember you can wear whatever you feel confident in!’’

Written by Greg Couch

Greg earned the 2007 Peter Lisagor Award as the best sports columnist in the Chicagoland area for his work with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a college football writer in 1997 before becoming a general columnist in 2003. He also won a Lisagor in 2016 for his commentary in RollingStone.com and The Guardian.

Couch penned articles and columns for CNN.com/Bleacher Report, AOL Fanhouse, and The Sporting News and contributed as a writer and on-air analyst for FoxSports.com and Fox Sports 1 TV. In his journalistic roles, Couch has covered the grandest stages of tennis from Wimbledon to the Olympics, among numerous national and international sporting spectacles. He also won first place awards from the U.S. Tennis Writers Association for his event coverage and column writing on the sport in 2010.

20 Comments

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  1. We can’t advocate for cancel culture. There should be some sort of exception for humor and sarcasm. Whitlock’s comment, clearly in jest. Why should he be fired from Outkick if he said them today? Do we think he really dislikes Asian people? Clay’s tagline, clever and funny. Kevin Hart being “cancelled” to host the Oscars for old gay JOKES he made on twitter. Do we really think Kevin Hart hates gay people? How are we going to advocate to cancel a shock-jock for saying something shocking? If this guy was dead serious and appalled at Taylor’s outfit, then he needs to go for other reasons. But if he is a constant joker that was trying to be funny, there’s got to be some sort of middle ground there. “When humor goes, there goes civilization.” –Erma Bombeck (comedian, Women’s rights activist)

    • Social media has poisoned our nation. There’s studies showing the subconscious effects it has on us, as well as the tendency to place people in echo chambers. The people who have benefited the most are far-left radicals who change what is acceptable to say or do on a daily basis, or based on political affiliation. They are radicals who always have been unheard in civilization’s history, but are given a voice and they convince normal people who are CLOSE to this ideology to go over the edge and join in on tw@tter.

      • Feddy, good post. I agree. Social media has poisoned our country. To me, social media is just as bad as cancel culture itself. I also agree that it helps radicals convince people who are close to the ideology to go over the edge. That’s why I wish sane people would not even play MSESPN’s game. I wish this McNeil guy hadn’t even mentioned Maria Taylor. I mean, I know responsible journalists have to call out the Lebron’s and the Popovich’s who are trying to start race wars with their lies. But for the typical good but not anything special wokecenter fools, I wish we could just ignore them and not give them the attention they so crave. (I guarantee MSESPN is loving the attention from this “egregious behavior”)

  2. Who the fuck brought in cancel couch from chicago. What that guy said is hilarious and she looks good as hell. What Jason said is and was hilarious. It’s a joke. If you can’t handle that its on you. Clearly there’s a market for mens men and it’s outkick. It took years for barstool to turn left and get soft which happened by hiring dudes like this guy. Not sure sensitive greg is outkick material. We don’t promote cancel culture here. There’s twitter and everywhere else for that.

  3. No one should be fired for what they say it’s called the First Amendment may be unpopular but that’s the idea now i disagree and cringe with many things i hear. There seems to me there are too many folks losing their jobs and franchises for a certain comment some quite innocent imo .

  4. I’ll start off by saying that what Maria Taylor was wearing was just fine. It’s ok for people to be fashionable on TV. But why was the comment automatically construed to be a negative? I don’t know if anyone has ever watched the AVN Awards, but people are typically dressed to the 9’s….from what I’ve heard. It’s a compliment. Does anyone remember when Kornheiser had to take a “vacation” from the 4 letter network because Hannah Storm had on a very tight shirt and looked liked she had “sausage casing wrapped around her upper body…”
    People can make fun of bald men, fat men, loud men, obnoxious men, ORANGE men. She fired back at him, as was in her rights. That should have been the end of it. They’re adults. Let them handle it on their own.
    Not to mention, 2 other guys on the same station had a Twitter conversation about another Chicago reporters boobs a few years back, and are still working there. I don’t think they should have been fired, and neither should McNeil.
    1. Don’t be so sensitive.
    2. Consider the source. If it was her bosses saying it, that’s one thing. It’s a guy out of Chicago (who I used to love listening to until the Score went super woke the last 5 years) who made the kind of comment he’s made his entire career. His bosses know who he is, as Greg mentioned. Howard Stern made a career out of making fun of people before he went soft.

  5. It’s all value homey.
    Got to have a few items in your favor. Liberal and Ba – lack helps huge dog.
    Smith – Womens USA Soccer Team player didn’t wan’t to mess up hair on a play. Funny SAS.
    Smith – some women got the beating they got by how they acted. SAS you silly ass.
    Bayless – massively average and I have said – benefiting from the MEDIA DEAD TALENT ERA. Like the dead ball era in baseball but media centric. .
    Tony Korn. Value baby. Seriously what would M. Wilbon have to do to get canned. Zipper down and full tug on the show.
    We know how this game is rigged. Give up your mind and you can still get some. Drew Brees

  6. I will add a comment about Skip Bayless…He was 100% in the wrong to say that about Dak coming out with his mental health challenges. What Dak Prescott did/said should be commended; And if Dak saying what he did helps one person to reach out for help, all the better for him being the motivation for it.

  7. What dude said was inappropriate, unprofessional, and a bit demeaning to the lady. Yes the dress was over the top, weird for tv, and it looked like something from an S&M show. There is absolutely no reason the guy should be fired from his job for that Tweet, or pretty much any Tweet. That highlights the problem in our country right now with cancel culture. It selectively punishes “trendy” pop morality while acting completely oblivious and careless towards far more dangerous and destructive ideas. Right now Netflix is literally showing child pornography, people are tweeting support for THAT, but we’re going to cancel a guy for commenting on a ladies oddball attire? I’m not saying he was appropriate for his comments, But have you been on Twitter? That is nothing compared to the horrifying language I have witnessed on there, but we’re going to fire this guy for that? Hypocrisy.

  8. I really wanna see men as sideline reporters for women’s sports.

    Men should be in female lockerrooms after tennis matches, without going transgender.

    And women must play men’s sports with identical rules. (What does that even mean?) ask a lady. 👮

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