Former Phillie Mitch Williams is suing his former employer MLB Network for breach of contract, wrongful termination and defamation, and Gawker Media, the company that owns the sports-news site Deadspin, for defamation, stemming from a story that Deadspin reported about Williams’ behavior at his 10-year-old son’s baseball tournament. The suit was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Camden County.
“We are aware that Mitch Williams has filed a lawsuit against MLB Network,” a spokesman for MLB Network said in a statement. “We have not received it, but we have reviewed the reported claims in the statement issued today by his lawyer and there are inaccuracies included throughout.
“We can confirm that Mitch Williams is no longer an MLB Network analyst. We believe that the behavior he demonstrated at the youth baseball tournament speaks for itself.”
The news that Williams was no longer an MLB Network employee was not made public until the suit was filed yesterday.
Gawker Media did not return a statement by press time.
The lawsuit stems from a story posted by Deadspin’s Timothy Burke. On May 11, Burke reported, from anonymous sources, that Williams was ejected from his child’s baseball game for arguing and cursing.
Williams apologized, as ordered by the MLB Network, via Twitter: “I regret what happened at this weekend’s tournament & apologize. I love baseball & coaching.”
Another report from Deadspin followed, including allegations that Williams called a child a lewd name and ordered a 10-year-old to hit the opposing pitcher. Williams’ suit claims that there is “both written and video evidence contradicting the false and baseless accusations.”
On May 17, Williams took a leave of absence from the MLB Network, as requested by the network.
“There are people out there who love to bring down celebrities, and the Internet provides an incredibly easy and powerful forum to destroy a person’s reputation in an instant behind a veil of anonymity,” Williams’ lawyer, Laura C. Mattiacci, of Console Law Offices, said when asked about the May incident, as well as other reported incidents of similar behavior on Williams’ part. “When one’s reputation and livelihood are crushed by anonymous ‘sources,’ it is absolutely devastating, but there are legal recourses available.”
The suit alleges that the MLB Network wanted Williams to sign an amendment to his contract saying that he would no longer attend the sporting events of his five children (or as the suit says, “sign away his rights as a father”), including his 11-year-old autistic son. “As alleged in Mr. Williams’ complaint, for an employer to make a job contingent upon signing away your right to be with your children, it is crossing the line,” Mattiacci said.
When he refused, Williams said, he was fired, losing out on the approximately $2 million balance of his contract, along with positions at mlb.com, the Sports Network and Fox Sports. Williams is seeking damages separately from each party.
Credit to Philly.com who published this article
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Alpha Media Ends San Antonio Sports Star Simulcast, 1250 AM Goes All ESPN Radio
“Alpha launched Sports Star on 94.1 back in June of last year, giving San Antonio its first FM sports talk station.”
San Antonio now has a frequency where people can find local sports talk and the full ESPN Radio lineup.
RadioInsight reported owner Alpha Media has tweaked what was on 1250 AM, launching it as ESPN 1250. The station will be San Antonio’s 24/7/365 home for ESPN Radio. That will include NBA, NFL and MLB play-by-play on top of talk.
San Antonio’s Sports Star had been simulcasting on 1250, but Alpha will carry on with live and local programming on the stronger FM frequency. Alpha launched Sports Star on 94.1 back in June of last year, giving San Antonio its first FM sports talk station.
Sports Star is the home of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers in San Antonio.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
ESPN Radio 94.1 Sells Station Naming Rights To Priority Automotive Group
“The programming on the station does not change.”
Max Media has found an interesting new revenue stream in Virginia Beach. ESPN Radio 94.1 has sold its naming rights. The station has rebranded as Priority Auto Sports Radio 94.1 ESPN.
“This is an important partnership for us,” said Priority Automotive COO Matt Elmer. “At Priority Automotive we think sports ties everyone together, so this is a great opportunity for us to be a voice in the community and partner with the number one voice for sports in Hampton Roads, ESPN 94.1.”
The programming on the station does not change. Listeners in the 757 will still hear the nationally syndicated ESPN Radio lineup except for in afternoon drive when The Tim Donnelly Show is on the air.
“The partnership between ESPN 94.1 and Priority Automotive is a natural evolution for both companies,” President and Market Manager Keith Barton added. “From the many youth organizations to college teams, Priority Automotive Has been dedicated to sports in Hampton Roads for decades. Max Media is incredibly proud to be partnered with such a class organization.”
Priority Automotive owns 17 car dealerships across Virginia.
SiriusXM Plots Super Bowl LVII Coverage
“SiriusXM will deliver fans around the country the unique mix of sports, music and entertainment programming that you can only find on SiriusXM.”
SiriusXM has announced its extensive plans for coverage of Super Bowl LVII and the events leading up to the big game.
A dedicated Super Bowl pop-up channel on SiriusXM Channel 104 will be just one of the avenues SiriusXM plans to cover the event. Amber Theoharis will conduct interviews with players, and personalities making their way through Radio Row throughout the week that will air on the pop-up channel.
Mad Dog Sports Radio will have a large presence on Radio Row, with shows hosted by Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Adam Schein, Dusty Dvoracek, Danny Kanell, and Steve Torre all airing live on location in Arizona. Former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Brandon Marshall will be on hand to host I Am Athlete Tonight from the event, as well.
“With all eyes and ears focused on Phoenix for Super Bowl Week, SiriusXM will deliver fans around the country the unique mix of sports, music and entertainment programming that you can only find on SiriusXM,” said SiriusXM President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein.
“With multiple game broadcasts, several channels in Phoenix covering the latest news and providing expert analysis on the teams, interviews with many of the celebrities in town for the game, and our exclusive concert with Luke Combs, our subscribers will have exceptional access throughout the biggest week on the NFL calendar.”
ESPNU Radio hosts Colt McCoy, Rick Neuheisel, and Max Starks will also be in Arizona on Radio Row, in addition to Dusty and Danny hosting their shows each day from Radio Row.
Fantasy football expert Jeff Mans and SportsGrid Radio host Scott Ferrall will also originate content from Radio Row.
SiriusXM will offer four different game broadcasts of Super Bowl LVII. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles home broadcasts will each air, as will the national Westwood One call. Additionally, a Spanish-language broadcast will also be provided. Listeners will also be able to hear the halftime show — performed by pop star Rihanna — on Sirius XM Hits 1, The Heat, and Super Bowl LVII Radio.