Montana State broadcaster Mark Martello was fired recently for comments he made during Saturday’s women’s basketball game between the Bobcats and Portland State.
Martello had been the play-by-play man for MSU women’s basketball games since the 2020-21 season. He also held the position in 2005-06, the first season of Tricia Binford’s tenure as Cats head women’s coach. Martello has called games for the MSU men, high school, and Bozeman Icedogs hockey as well.
During the broadcast in question, Martello made multiple analogies, specifically comparing the city of Portland with the South Side of Chicago and trying to parallel the Portland team to Antifa in an attempt at a joke. LEARFIELD, which represents MSU, let Martello go after MSU’s 71-56 win at Worthington Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Joe Terry of Big Sky Valhalla was the first to report the firing and shared his thoughts in a few tweets on Martello’s comments.
Made a reference to Portland being like the Southside of Chicago earlier in the game.— Joe Terry (@joseph_terry) January 22, 2022
Seems an odd place to fire off political tales but here we are.
Martello said Tom Boman, LEARFIELD’S vice president of broadcast operations, fired him because of Terry’s tweets.
“I am taking responsibility for what came out of my mouth,” Martello wrote in a text message to 406mtsports.com on Monday. “I will miss the team and coaches. There will be no apology, no one was harmed.”
The comment comparing Portland and the South Side of Chicago came at the 8:25 mark of the fourth quarter, Martello mentioned that Portland State center Rhema Ogele was battling in the middle with MSU’s Taylor Janssen.
“Ogele, from Saint Ignatius College (Prep) in Chicago, which is South Side. You’ve heard of (it),” Martello said on the broadcast. “Portland not much different, I don’t think, these days.”
Martello was trying to make a reference to the rising crime rate of Portland, an odd opinion to include during the broadcast of a basketball game.
“I’ve been to the South Side, a lot. Portland looked worse when we were there last year,” Martello wrote in a text to 406 Mt Sports‘ Victor Flores, adding a laughing emoji.
Not long after the South Side comment, MSU’s Kola Bad Bear got the ball inside and missed a post shot. Martello said on the air that Bad Bear “got fouled two or three times” on the play, but no foul was called.
“Evidently, Cats are up 19, Portland can get away with whatever they’re going to get away with,” Martello said on the broadcast. “Portland’s like antifa after a riot. They might go to jail, but they get out right away. They can get away with it.”
Martello paused for a second, then apologized.
“Uh-oh,” he continued. “I shouldn’t say stuff like that. I’m sorry.”
He quickly got back to calling the game after that.
This was another odd comment that did not seem to relate much to the game or setting. However, Antifa is often associated with Portland largely because of Rose City Antifa, one of the United States’ oldest active antifa groups.
“This is part of the world we live in, a big reason why I hate Social Media,” Martello texted. “Dumb thing to say maybe, but firing me represents MONTANA values? I think not. MSU promotes Portland values, in Montana. Kneeling is fine, political warm-ups are no problem, but some radio yahoo making wise cracks is a capital offense. Everything I said was true. I guess the truth hurts.”
This was another bad look for Martello. While he was referring to Black Lives Matter warm-up shirts, the actual warm-ups MSU wore had the phrase “No More Stolen Sisters” which was intended to raise awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls during Saturday’s game. Martello later said he supported those efforts.
MSU did not make a big deal over the firing but mentioned Martello’s dismissal in a press release. However, the school didn’t comment further. Both LEARFIELD and ESPN (the broadcast was also televised on ESPN+) declined to comment.
The Portland State athletic department issued a statement through a spokesperson to 406mtsports.com.
“That type of commentary has no place in the description of a college basketball game,” the statement reads. “The portrayal of Portland State was both inaccurate and inappropriate. We appreciate that Montana State acknowledges that as well.”
Doug Gottlieb, Nick Wright Feud Over College Sports NIL Issues
“Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known.”
FOX Sports hosts Doug Gottlieb and Nick Wright definitely do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to money going to college athletes.
Despite both being employed by the same company, Gottlieb, who is never afraid to voice his opinion, fired back at Wright Friday regarding his take on college football’s NIL rule in the wake of Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s claiming Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher “brought” his recruits.
On Wright’s morning show, First Things First, the colorful broadcaster had a two minute rant about how he’s happy that schools are finding workarounds under the new NIL rules implemented by the NCAA to pay the players for their name, image and likeness. He said the universities have been taking advantage of college athletes, particularly black student athletes from rough backgrounds, for years and now that the tide has shifted, people are freaking out.
“The general sports public wants extra regulations and extra rules, is keeping their thumbs on college football and basketball players because their is an undeniable and always has been an incredibly uncomfortable racial context of the guys,” Wright said. “It’s mostly young black men from mostly really tough circumstances, generating billions of dollars. Who’s sharing in that?” Wright asked.
“An overwhelmingly white administration, an overwhelmingly white coaching staff, and an overwhelmingly white non-revenue sports. How do we pay for the tennis team and golf team, ah men’s football and basketball. What do they get? A scholarship. Be happy, we pulled you out the hood. Maybe you’ll have a better life if somehow you make the league or do something with your education.”
Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known. That resulted in a back and forth between the two sports personalities on Twitter.
Gottlieb continued, claiming the NIL rule puts exceedingly high expectations on the student-athletes before ever stepping on campus and are given something without having to “earn it.”
“The sad part is this push to pay SAs before they have even played a game, taken a class or assimilated to a school sets them up for failure in their post sports career. If you have been given before you earn, where is the motivation when you get to the real world?”
Wright then took a shot at Gottlieb, saying it always feels good that his take is the complete opposite of Gottlieb’s.
The dialogue continued with Gottlieb throwing shots at Wright, calling his take “embarrassing” and mentioning how he failed to point out the educational imbalance in society during his take. Wright asked Gottlieb what are some of the other “fake racism” takes that he claims are out in the media.
Gottlieb is no stranger to conflict with his FOX Sports colleagues. Troy Aikman called his opinion on Andrew Luck’s retirement “total bullshit” in a tweet from 2019. More recently, Gottlieb got into it with Speak for Yourself co-host Emmanuel Acho after Gottlieb ripped his brother Sam’s “Top 5 QB list” on First Take. He also called out Skip Bayless for name-calling.
Bob Cousy: ‘JJ Redick Is Untalented Using Me To Get Attention On ESPN’
“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.
Celtics legend Bob Cousy was not too happy with J.J. Redick dissing his game and credibility as an all-time great player.
During an appearance on First Take, Redick got into a fiery debate with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about whether Chris Paul deserves to be mentioned among the best point guards in NBA history despite another disappointing exit from the playoffs. Russo claimed that Paul is “no Bob Cousy” which prompted Redick to retort, saying Cousy couldn’t even dribble with his left hand and called the players he played against, “plumbers” and “firemen.”
“Bob Cousy won championships when there were eight teams in the NBA and you had to win two playoff series,” Reddick said. “Let’s celebrate Bob Cousy in his era, but you can’t compare pre-1980 with the modern NBA.”
The 93-old Cousy made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio where he went scorched earth on Redick, basically calling the ESPN analyst “untalented” while listing some of the players that he went up against in his era.
“So when you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won’t do that, but I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced. And I’ll just give you a few of the names of these firemen that I played with and against during those years. How about Bill Russell, the aforementioned, not too bad a player. Wilt Chamberlain, remember that guy? He wasn’t bad. I guess he must have fought fires as well. But in any event, Wilt Chamberlain.
“Still the best, in my judgment, small forward that ever played the game, a guy named Elgin Baylor. A couple of point guards that weren’t too shabby, my colleague who also had an award created [in his name], guy named Oscar Robertson, who was pound for pound the best player perhaps in the game.”
Chris Paul is a 12-time All-Star compared to Cousy’s 13 appearances.
One thing Paul and Bob Cousy do have in common is their aptitude for leadership. Cousy developed and started the NBA players union in 1954, being named its first president. Paul served in that same role from 2013-2021.
The two men also share similarities off the court. Cousy was a stanch anti-racist advocate during the civil rights era 50s and 60s, when it wasn’t all that popular to so. Paul has also spoke out on issues regarding race, working with commissioner Adam Silver to address some of the issues facing the black community.
Maybe the two have more in common than either Redick or Russo would like to admit.
Cole Cubelic: ‘A Lot Of Media Wasn’t Prepared To Talk About Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher’
“There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”
The comments from Alabama football coach Nick Saban regarding other teams allegedly “buying” their players through the new rules pertaining to name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has set the college football world abuzz.
In his comments, Saban directly accused Texas A&M Head Coach and one of his former assistant coaches at Louisiana State University Jimbo Fisher of unreasonably using NIL deals to recruit college football players, and remarked that the system as a whole has created a fundamental disadvantage for certain programs. Additionally, he stated that Alabama has never tried to lure a player solely based on these deals; however, he left the door open to potentially having to adjust his recruitment strategy to align with the actions of his competitors around him.
Much of the college football world weighed in on the comments, but the voice everyone was waiting to hear was that of Jimbo Fisher, including McElroy and Cubic in the Morning on Jox 94.5 FM in Birmingham, Ala. On Friday morning, the program opened with show co-host Cole Cubelic reacting to the candid response given by Fisher in a news conference carried on multiple media outlets in which Fisher called Saban a “narcissist.”
“When we’ve had coaching feuds before, we’ve had guys go back and forth; we’ve had guys go at one another, sometimes in a little bit more of a subtle way; sometimes maybe a less-confrontational way,” Cubelic said. “Jimbo even said it yesterday – he’s not afraid of confrontation; he’s not worried about it.”
An aspect of what has made this discordance between two highly-accomplished and eminent coaches a story being followed across the college football landscape is the fact that it has taken place within the public sphere. When Saban appeared on SiriusXM Radio and apologized for singling out Texas A&M in his comments from earlier in the week, there was not much emotion involved, according to Cubelic. Fisher’s remarks in his press conference though, were of a completely different sentiment – and may have escalated the situation altogether.
“Debates often turn to arguments as soon as emotions become involved,” Cubelic said. “…Jimbo Fisher yesterday at 10 a.m. – that felt emotional; that felt personal, and that one had to dig deep. Jimbo Fisher said yesterday he doesn’t anticipate things are going to be repaired. I don’t see in a way that these two sort of get things back in line.”
“The bridge is burned both ways,” added show co-host Greg McElroy. “They’ll probably shake hands; do what they need to do pregame. But as far as any love lost? Nah, that’s a wrap.”
A part of this story that remains seminal when reporting or commenting on it is listening to the full extent of the comments from both Saban and Fisher on the situation so as to more effectively contextualize and comprehend the situation. Cubelic said that he did multiple interviews on different programs yesterday, and some of the interviewers, as he anticipated, had solely listened to portions of the comments, rendering them not completely prepared to have a truly pertinent discussion about the topic at hand.
“We said it here on the show yesterday morning — right out of the gate — people are going to take the Miami; the Jackson State; and the Texas A&M stuff, and they’re going to clip it and they’re going to play it and they’re going to read it and that’s all they’re going to pay attention to,” said Cubelic. “There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”
Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies visit Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 8 in a matchup that will sure to be a primary topic of discussion in the weeks and months leading to kickoff.