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Dan McNeil Upset By Listener Death Pool Pick

“The most emotional part of McNeil’s post and reflection was envisioning his 25-year old autistic son Patrick dealing with the loss of his dad.”

Brandon Contes

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For those that don’t know what a death pool is, participants buy in and select celebrities that they believe have a chance to die soon.  If your selection is the next to die, you win the pool.  Chicago’s 670 The Score radio host Dan McNeil shared on Facebook, his dismay after being informed a listener selected him in a death pool.

“Give the dude credit for a sound investment strategy. I’m a good “value pick” in a pool like that,” wrote McNeil in what ended up being a very honest and emotional Facebook post. 

McNeil went on to outline he’s out of shape for a 57-year old, something that has been discussed on-air.  The radio host doesn’t exercise, drinks about nine cups of coffee per day and continues to smoke cigarettes which he has for decades.  McNeil has also been open about his dealings with depression and mental illness, reiterating in the Facebook post that it runs in his family.

But McNeil didn’t just laugh off the selection, it forced him to reflect and picture his children living without him, which made it difficult to absorb the thought that he is a death pool pick.  “I must confess, this guy got to me. I even cried a few times.  Daydreaming about my sons’ sadness over the void in their lives is an optic I’d just as soon avoid,” the Score radio host wrote.  McNeil has three sons, Van, Jack and Patrick all between the ages of 24 – 28.  

The most emotional part of McNeil’s post and reflection was envisioning his 25-year old autistic son Patrick dealing with the loss of his dad.  “His sadness is my biggest fear. Fear isn’t strong enough. It…takes my breath away. He doesn’t have typical friends. He’s verbal, but not conversational. I am his life soulmate and he is mine.

“Patrick already has expressed being terrified over the eventual passing of loved ones. He’s close to very few and my departure would be catastrophic for him. He still asks me to tickle him when he goes to bed. He has the spirit and doting eyes of a 5-year-old looking at daddy.”

McNeil has participated in death pools himself, just two week ago he asked his radio partner, Danny Parkins if he was “appalled” by the game.  After Parkins said he doesn’t participate in them, but wasn’t appalled by the concept, McNeil said “I’m participating in one right now.” He then added that he plays with the “85 and over” rule, which both hosts agreed made the death pool more reasonable. 

McNeil has been a sports talk staple in Chicago for decades and at the age of 57, he’s in the midst of his third tenure at 670 The Score. Last year he was paired with Danny Parkins.  McNeil and Parkins broadcast weekdays from 1 – 6pm.  

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

Danny Balis Joins 97.1 The Freak

“I feel kind of nervous because I haven’t done this in a long time. I thought this may not ever happen to me again, to do radio with people I’ve known for a very, very long time.”

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Longtime Sportsradio 96.7/1310 The Ticket producer Danny Balis is joining 97.1 The Freak in Dallas.

Balis was introduced Monday as the newest member of The Downbeat cast, which already features Mike Rhyner, Mike Sirois, and Michael Gruber.

“He was the one I want, and I get what I want here,” Rhyner said during Monday’s announcement.

“I’m excited,” said Balis. “I feel kind of nervous because I haven’t done this in a long time. I thought this may not ever happen to me again, to do radio with people I’ve known for a very, very long time.”

Balis left The Ticket in May, citing an interest in focusing on other areas of his life outside of radio. He served as a producer at the station for 22 years before stepping aside. At the time, he said “The room for growth for me up here is not going to open up until all you knuckleheads retire,” the 54-year-old joked.

In addition to his work with The Freak, Balis continues to co-own the Twilite Lounge in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

97.1 The Freak launched in October, and features a “broad-based, personality driven format” that features several former Dallas sports radio personalities including Rhyner, and Ben and Skin among others.

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Sports Radio News

Shan & RJ: We Have Questions About Jerry Jones But Washington Post Report Isn’t One of Them

“We all have some skeletons in our closet, but to throw the weight of the word racist on anyone, you’re gonna have to come with more than that.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones found himself in the headlines last week ahead of the team’s Thanksgiving Day game, but it was largely seen as something that didn’t need to be dragged out into the spotlight, and 105.3 The Fan hosts Shan and RJ agreed.

The Washington Post last week published a photo from 1957 showing a 14-year-old Jones among a crowd of onlookers as white students tried to block the path of some Black students attempting to enter his North Little Rock, Arkansas high school.

The piece focused on Jones, who is the Cowboys general manager, never hiring a Black head coach in the entire time he’s owned the franchise.

On Monday, Shan Shariff said it seemed a bit much to use that photo and article to paint Jones as some sort of racist.

“There’s certainly a bunch of stories out there that we know on and off the record about Jerry Jones that makes me question his morals,” he said. “We all have some skeletons in our closet, but to throw the weight of the word racist on anyone, you’re gonna have to come with more than that.”

Cowboys insider Bobby Belt, who was filling in for co-host RJ Choppy on Shan & RJ, said Jones has likely evolved like a lot of people do over time. He didn’t think it was fair to necessarily say Jones was racist.

“I’m not gonna speak for anyone else but I don’t believe he’s racist,” Belt said. “I think there are enough people who have dealt with him who are African American who would tell you they don’t think he’s racist. But it’s still not a thing that you can just write off to ‘Oh I was just standing there.'”

Jones admitted to the Post that his football coach at the time told him and other players not to get involved or be among the crowd for that moment, but he went anyway.

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Sports Radio News

DiPietro & Rothenberg: NFL TV Partners Should Schedule Jets and Giants at Opposite Times

Jordan Bondurant

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For the first time in a long time, both the New York Giants and the New York Jets are factors in the NFL playoff picture. After years of both franchises occupying the bottom portions of the league standings, fans in New York and the surrounding area have a reason to believe. On DiPietro & Rothenberg on ESPN New York, Dave Rothenberg said he thinks the league should put both teams in more marquee windows.

“When you start to think about flexing games, you start to think about you know what, the Giants and Jets should be flexed into better time slots,” he said.

Co-host Rick DiPietro said it sucks now that both teams are playing well, fans are essentially forced to flip back and forth between games.

“It’s awful. It really is,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that it ruins the Sunday because that would be hard. But it’s not my favorite.”

Still, it’s not lost on Rothenberg that football fans in the city now have something to cheer for NFL wise as the last chunk of the regular season approaches.

“When was the last time the Jets and Giants in December had meaningful football games?” Rothenberg asked. “Years and years and years.”

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