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.”
Will Dundon is a sports media writer for BSM, and producer for ESPN’s 102.5 The Game in Nashville, TN. Additionally, he hosts the Paydirt Sports podcast. You can find him on Twitter @williedundon or reach him by email at [email protected].
Dan Patrick to Appear in December Episode of The Simpsons
“I’ve had a couple of sessions, and I only had like four lines, five lines.”
For a sports radio host, Dan Patrick has quite an impressive list of IMDb credits. He will add a new one next month, when he appears on The Simpsons.
During The Dan Patrick Show Tuesday, the legendary sportscaster mentioned that several of the voices for the show are reaching senior citizen status, putting future seasons in question. Patrick joked that the show’s guest booker, Todd Fritz, could be a natural replacement for Julie Kavner as the voice of Marge Simpson.
After joking that Fritz would want to change the script too often, Patrick revealed he would appear in an upcoming episode, and changing the script wouldn’t be an easy proposition.
“I’m on an episode that — I think — comes out on Christmas Eve (of) The Simpsons” Patrick admitted. “I’ve had a couple of sessions, and I only had like four lines, five lines. They wanna hear what they wanna hear.”
Patrick continued by noting that when he worked at ESPN, former co-worker Kenny Mayne was notorious for wanting to change the scripts of commercials during the “This is SportsCenter” campaigns.
“Kenny would always go ‘Hey, how about this?’ or ‘What about this?’, and I’d say ‘Let’s just stick to the script. They really have a good track record here.'”
He added that the voiceover artists on the program have deserved the millions they’ve made during the show’s long-running tenure.
“They’re extremely talented. They do a variety of voices there…that show has been on for how many decades? (It’s) still funny (and) relevant,” Patrick said.
On his IMDb page, Dan Patrick has 36 acting credits to his name, with the majority coming from projects with Adam Sandler.
Matt Jones: ‘I’m Not Ashamed to Have Epilepsy’
“It’s a medical condition, and there is nothing I can do about it. I take medication, and that helps, and I wanted to show people that you can have a condition like that and still succeed…”
In a Netflix documentary series released in September, Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones is seen having an epileptic seizure. He has shared why he allowed the video to be shown.
In an interview with Lexington TV station WKYT, Jones says he wants others with epilepsy to know they’re not alone.
“I think the world is a better place when people realize they are not the only ones feeling whatever it is they are feeling,” Jones said.
He shared that talking about the effects the condition has on him breaks down the stigma.
“You know I’m not ashamed to have epilepsy; it’s a medical condition, and there is nothing I can do about it. I take medication, and that helps, and I wanted to show people that you can have a condition like that and still succeed and still go through life, and you should not be ashamed of it,” he said.
The Kentucky Sports Radio host said his first seizure happened when he was 22, which is rare because most people with epilepsy suffer it at an earlier age. He said the seizure he suffered while filming the Netflix series Wrestlers — which features a behind-the-scenes look at Ohio Valley Wrestling and attempts to save the promotion in which Jones is a partner — was one of the worst he’s ever experienced.
Matt Jones told the TV station his only hesitation in showing the footage was he didn’t want his mother to see it.
“The director talked to me about airing it. He basically said are you okay with airing it? My initial inclination was no, not because of me, but because of my mother, and I didn’t want her to have to see it. She had never seen me have one,” Jones concluded.
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. 1 in 26 people in the United States suffer from the condition.
Ben Wagner Out As Blue Jays Radio Voice After Sportsnet Contract Not Renewed
“Thank you, Ben, for sharing your voice and expertise with listeners across Canada.”
Toronto Blue Jays radio play-by-play announcer Ben Wagner will not be on the team’s broadcasts next season, Sportsnet announced on Wednesday morning.
The company posted a statement on X that divulged that it decided not to renew his contract for the next season. The new radio broadcast booth for the team will be announced prior to the start of the 2024 Blue Jays season.
“Thank you, Ben, for sharing your voice and expertise with listeners across Canada,” the statement read. “We wish you the very best.”
Wagner had served as the radio voice of the team for the last six seasons and called road games remotely for the last several years following the COVID-19 pandemic. He was briefly taken off the radio broadcasts when Sportsnet decided to simulcast its television broadcast on radio; however, that move was expeditiously reversed.
During this past season, Wagner worked alongside color commentator Chris Leroux and had the opportunity to travel to call the team’s Wild Card Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, which ended in a 2-0 loss. The Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels were the only two MLB teams not to send their broadcasters on the road during the 2023 MLB regular season.
Upon graduating from Indiana State University with a degree in radio and television, Ben Wagner worked as the director of media and public relations for the Lakewood BlueClaws, a Class-A Minor League Baseball team for which he also served as its play-by-play announcer.
Three years later, he called games for the Buffalo Bisons in Triple-A for the next 11 seasons before replacing Jerry Howarth as the radio play-by-play voice of the Blue Jays.