Them Sound Like Fightin' Words: Olbermann, WFAN's "Boomer & Carton" In Media Skirmish
ESPN's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night went on a rant against WFAN-FM's Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason after they characterized Olbermann and Chris Berman as "bullies" on Tuesday morning's show. Calling Carton and Esiason that night's "Worst Persons In The Sports World," Olbermann sarcastically said the pair is "apparently filling-in in the morning" until the station hires "professional announcers." Olbermann: "They decided to discuss what they viewed as the hypocrisy of ex-players and certain sportscasters in discussing the Richie Incognito bullying story. They cited as an example ex-Jet Bart Scott, who condemned it even though they say he once taped a rookie to a goalpost. Then they cited two sportscasters, myself and Chris Berman." Olbermann noted WFAN would not allow ESPN to play audio from the show, so he read the transcript of the show. Olbermann said Berman "is a lot of things, but he's never been a bully." He added, "I've had to listen to this nonsense spouted by people who've never worked with me and don't know me, don't know people I've worked with." Olbermann added Esiason and Carton "could not manage to cite one instance of any bullying accusation," or even "come up with a rationalization as to how either of us could have done something akin to shaking down kids for money or threatening them or their families or using racial epithets as Richie Incognito did." Olbermann: "What these chuckleheads did comparing whatever they think I did, whatever they think Chris did, to what Incognito did minimizes what Jonathan Martin and others went through." He concluded that smart people "would retract such stupid minimizing of the victims of real bullies," but Esiason and Carton are "not smart people" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 11/5).
THEIR RESPONSE: Carton and Esiason responded to Olbermann on yesterday's program, with Carton noting he "would play the Keith Olbermann attack on me and Boomer … but ESPN does not allow us to play any of their audio." Carton said Olbermann "never asked" to air the audio of the initial bullying claims on his "very small-watched show with no audience at all." Carton: "Our MSG reruns at 10:00 get more viewers than any show you've ever done." Esiason said, "He's smart, though, because he's getting you to talk about him." Carton: "Well, we just made him relevant for 30 seconds." Esiason: "I love these media wars." Carton later said, "Not only are we not allowed to play your audio, we can't even book a guest if we wanted to that has any connection to your parent company." Carton: "Here's an open invitation to Keith Olbermann: If you'd like to come on our show, you have an open door, sir, anytime you'd like to come on. Of course, they won't let you come on and you would be afraid to come on anyhow, but you're welcome to come on." Esiason: "I think that'd be fun." Carton: "I'll engage you. If you want to fight, let's fight. It's fine with me, but let's be accurate about it" ("Boomer & Carton," WFAN-AM, 11/6).