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Jason Benetti Talks About Bias He Faces Due To Cerebral Palsy

“Benetti, who has Cerebral Palsy, tells host Damon Amendolara that while he cannot fully understand the plight of people of color since he is white, he does relate to being treated differently because of his disability.”

Jacob Conley

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Chicago White Sox play-by-play announcer and ESPN contributor Jason Benetti appeared on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show to bring a unique perspective on current events in America.

Benetti, who has Cerebral Palsy, tells host Damon Amendolara that while he cannot fully understand the plight of people of color since he is white, he does relate to being treated differently because of his disability.

“I have never had my life threatened because of the color of my skin,” Benetti said. “So my challenges and struggles are like a paper cut by comparison. To those who think it (bias) does not exist or is overblown, every day when I meet somebody new, because of how I walk, I get judged. It’s on me to overcome it in some regards, but these small instances pile up and become very frustrating to think that maybe there is an invisible  wall or ceiling.”

Benetti then relates one of those instances where he and colleague Dan Dakich were covering a college basketball game in College Park, Maryland.

“Dan walks through (security), but the usher stops me grabs the credential out of my hand and begins to tie it to my belt loop without saying a word,” Benetti said. “I took it from him and was like, ‘I’m not 12’. In that moment, I got that reminder that people see me as lesser. That’s on me to deal with because some people are trying to be helpful.

“My ‘plight’ is nothing more than an annoyance because I have never had my life threatened by a police officer. But if you are sitting out there wondering why are protesters so mad? The answer is that when every day you have something that reminds you that you are lesser than someone else, at some point you just have to let it out and you want people to realize what’s actually happening.”

Benetti also gives more extreme examples of executives telling him to stick to radio or that his shoes do not look professional because they are scuffed due to the way he walks.

“I try to put a happy face on it, because that is how I have chosen to attack it, but that does not mean everyone should. In most cases for me, it’s just because people don’t turn on their brains. The bias is unintentional. Then you see the bias going on that is actually above the surface and somebody dies because of it. Mine is small potatoes, but let’s stop it there at the very least.

“I’m heartbroken over what’s going on,” Benetti adds. “The worst thing that could possibly ever happen to me is to get pulled over and asked to walk a straight line because they think I have been drinking. There is no straight line in me, but I have known friends of color to have been thrown in the back of police cars for doing nothing wrong. The hardest part about being different is knowing in your heart you are being treated differently because of your skin color or for me, my disability. Then people say, ‘no we weren’t doing that’ when I know you are not telling the truth. The implicit bias that is unintentional needs to go away. The explicit bias that is killing people is flat out unacceptable.”

Sports Radio News

1010XL Jay Fund Radiothon Raises Nearly $250,000 For Pediatric Cancer Research

“In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.5 billion for the Jay Fund.”

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Jacksonville’s 1010XL used its airwaves to raise money for the Jay Fund for the fifteenth year earlier this week. The radiothon was a smashing success, raising $249,784 to fight pediatric cancer.

This year’s total is a new record for the event. In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 million for the Jay Fund.

“I’m truly amazed at the generosity of the 1010 XL listeners in times when a carton of eggs cost six dollars,” said General Manager Steven Griffin, “and equally amazed how the hosts, producers, radio staff and volunteers come together with a singular focus to year-after-year produce these results in one broadcast day.”

Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of  Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while playing for Coughlin at Boston College. The organization has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.

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Sports Radio News

Parkins & Spiegel Wonder If Trent Dilfer Will Still Appear On Their Show After Taking UAB Job

“I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”

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Former ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer has been hired as the new head coach at UAB. However, Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel wondered if that meant Dilfer would no longer be making his weekly appearances on Parkins & Spiegel on 670 The Score.

“Our guy is no longer gonna do a radio show out of Chicago?” Parkins joked, referencing an incident last month where Dilfer failed to say “Parkins & Spiegel during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

“I don’t know that that’s the case,” Spiegel replied.

“We don’t know that yet,” producer Shane Riordan said. “We have only shared a couple of text message — Trent and I — this morning and I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”

Later in the show, Parkins and Spiegel jokingly wondered what jobs they could have on UAB’s staff, with Parkins balking at being a sports information director. He did say he would welcome being the offensive player caller, but believed that job might fall under the purview of Dilfer.

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Sports Radio News

Mike Milbury: Jack Edwards Is ‘Awkward’ and ‘A Different Breed’

“Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”

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Boston Bruins television play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards has come under fire for recent comments he made about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon and his weight. In turn, Maroon donated money in Edwards’ name to a mental health organization. On The Greg Hill Show Thursday, former NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury both slammed and defended Edwards.

“Jack Edwards. Who’s Jack Edwards? He went through all of junior high school being picked on and bullied,” Milbury said. “Now he’s trying to get even. Wouldn’t you want to smack that guy, Wiggy? Skinny, scrawny, mouthy son of a bitch.”

“Jack is screaming at the TV all the time,” he continued. “I gotta turn it down half the time.”

When asked by Courtney Cox if it was appropriate for Edwards to make comments about Maroon’s weight, noting that the comments were “awkward”, Milbury said Edwards is a divisive presence.

“Jack is awkward. I think half of Boston hates him and half of Boston loves him. He certainly loves the Bruins and is passionate about it but he’s a different breed of cat. Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”

Milbury was “cancelled” after saying NHL players in the league’s playoff “bubble” weren’t being distracted by their wives and girlfriends being present. He was dropped by the NHL on NBC after the comments and has not resurfaced on a major network.

The comments and questions to Milbury came after Cox and co-host Jermaine Wiggins disagreed about whether Edwards’ comments were warranted.

Wiggins said he “thought hockey players were supposed to be tough”, adding “he’s got a few extra LBs. It’s a joke.”

Cox countered by saying “it’s not a joke. No one should be talking about it. Jack Edwards went on for like five minutes about it. It wasn’t funny.”

Hill said when Wiggins was in the NFL, nobody cared what television broadcasters said about them. Cox argued by saying “in your day, nobody talked to a therapist, either”.

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