Always bold and never one to shy away from controversy, Pittsburgh sports radio host Mark Madden angered Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt.
According to Madden, Watt skipped his exit interview after the Steelers season ended with a playoff loss to the often-inferior Cleveland Browns.
“I am told that T.J. Watt refused to participate in his exit interview,” Madden said near the top of his afternoon show heard on 105.9 The X. “That he was angry about something. That he just said, ‘Send my stuff to Wisconsin. I’m outta here.’”
That’s where Madden chose to stop the accusation, stating that he couldn’t guess why Watt was angry. But a star player skipping his exit interview because he’s upset with the team is already a damning accusation.
“I can’t surmise what Watt was mad about,” Madden added. “The loss. The culture. Him not getting a sack or a quarterback hit against Cleveland. But T.J. Watt declined his exit interview. That, I do know.”
It’s one thing to criticize a player with an opinion, but Watt went on Twitter to fire back at Madden, contending the Pittsburgh radio host was factually inaccurate. According to Watt, he packed his own belongings and did participate in exit interviews after the Steelers season ended.
After Watt’s defense, Madden doubled down, stating he double-checked with his source who says the story is still true. Madden didn’t reveal the source of his off the record information, citing “media ethics 101.” Steelers Insider Mark Kaboly confirmed that Watt attended his exit interviews, and Madden again stood by his report.
Bob Fescoe: CFP Selection Show Should Be on Monday
“Today, how much debate would be going on right now?”
On Sunday prior to the start of NFL action, ESPN broadcast the College Football Playoff Selection Show, which revealed the four teams that have been deemed as eligible to compete for the CFP National Championship. On Monday’s edition of Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio, co-host Bob Fescoe discussed how the CFP will soon expand to 12 teams, which he says will not be as intriguing because of the addition of several games, and argued that ESPN and the CFP missed the boat by hosting the show when it does.
In fact, Fescoe did not tune into the reveal live, instead learning of the teams selected through social media and ESPN platforms.
Fescoe’s argument centered around the fact that there were several marquee NFL matchups on the schedule, including a showdown between two NFC contenders expected to compete for a Super Bowl championship – the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles. Later in the day on Sunday Night Football, the Green Bay Packers defeated the rival Kansas City Chiefs with both award-winning singer/songwriter Taylor Swift and the most decorated gymnast in Olympics history, Simone Biles, in attendance at Lambeau Field.
“When they announce it yesterday, they’re taking a lot of good show topics away from a lot of people,” Fescoe said. “You’re screwing us, ESPN, by doing that, right? You’re screwing your own people by doing that.”
Bob Fescoe suggested that the teams should have been announced during halftime of the Monday Night Football matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars, retaining a captive audience and driving conversation about the choices on Tuesday. With the NFL playing 13 games throughout the day on Sunday, he asserted that the league took away momentum from the College Football Playoff, something that could ultimately harm the scope of sports media coverage.
“Today, how much debate would be going on right now?,” Fescoe asked. “How awesome would it be to have a Monday to have all the blowhards like us have the opportunity to debate who should be in and who shouldn’t be in, and what [Paul] Finebaum says and what this guy says? It would have been outstanding to hear the calls from Alabama [and] other people screaming why they should be in. They missed out on that – they did.”
Starting in the next college football campaign, the CFP will officially expand to 12 teams and add more games ahead of the expiration of its media rights deal with ESPN after the 2025 season.
In the final selection show under the existing four-team format, Fescoe believes that it missed the mark by having it take place on the same day as a packed slate of NFL games. He does agree with the decisions of the committee and affirmed that it will be exciting to watch the teams face off to play for a National Championship.
As a radio host though, Bob Fescoe expressed the downsides to such a move and the other shortcomings therein.
“That’s why the four-team playoff is fun because everybody has an opinion; everybody has a feeling,” Fescoe said. “I think they got it right. It’s a TV show, and the sooner we can all realize that sports is a glorified TV show, the better off we’re going to be, and they’ve got the best made-for-TV matchups.”
Former 107.5 The Game PD Tim Hill Files Lawsuit Against Cumulus Media Over Vaccine Mandate
The lawsuit, which also alleges unlawful discharge, breach of contract and retaliation, states that Hill had worked from home for 18 months beginning in April 2020.
Tim Hill, the former program director and co-host of the morning show at 107.5 The Game in Columbia is suing Cumulus Media for failing to accommodate religious beliefs that he claims are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This lawsuit, which has been filed in the U.S. District Court in the locale, is related to Hill’s refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, something that was mandated by the company. In August 2021, Cumulus became the first broadcast radio company in the United States to institute such a mandate, which occurred ahead of its return-to-office date of Oct. 11. Inside Radio was first to report the news of Hill’s lawsuit against the company.
The lawsuit, which also alleges unlawful discharge, breach of contract, and retaliation, states that Tim Hill had worked from home for 18 months beginning in April 2020. With the announcement of the vaccine requirement, he requested religious accommodation to be exempt and answered additional questions about his request from the head of human resources when asked. The next day, his request was denied because of the “undue hardship on the company due to the nature of Plaintiff’s employment position.” Hill’s lawsuit affirms that Cumulus had no further inquiry about his religious beliefs and how they would conflict with the policy.
As the disputation continued, Hill suggested alternative methods to receiving the vaccine, which included masking, social distancing, wearing a face shield, continuing remote work, and installing an air filtration system with no cost incurred upon the company. These proposals were denied without “any interactive process,” according to the complaint. Tim Hill was fired on Oct. 11, 2021, for refusing to get the vaccine and is now suing for back pay, front pay, emotional distress damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, and attorney fees.
Cumulus has yet to file a response to the lawsuit, the second such litigation due to its policy. Former News/Talk 98.9 WKIM Memphis morning show co-host Bob Boccia filed a similar lawsuit in May of this year, which the company denied in court.
Cowboys Radio Voice Brad Sham on the Mend After Missing Thursday Night Football Due to Medical Scare
Sham said he suffered a medical event while traveling to the game Thursday. Kyle Youmans called the game in his stead.
The Dallas Cowboys picked up a win over the Seattle Seahawks last Thursday, but regular radio play-by-play announcer Brad Sham was noticeably absent from the call.
That’s because Sham suffered a medical issue.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Sham was on his way to AT&T Stadium in Arlington Thursday afternoon when he started experiencing problems.
“Fell ill on my way to the game,” Sham said. “Feel okay but getting a couple things checked out. Really appreciate everyone’s concern.”
Kyle Youmans filled in for Sham on Thursday Night Football. Brad has been the voice of the Cowboys since 1976.
Dallas plays host to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. Sham hasn’t been ruled out to return to the booth for the highly anticipated matchup.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional 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, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.