By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Wednesday, October 7, 2015
On Twitter Tuesday night, 92.9/The Game afternoon host Mike Bell used a sexist "Anchorman" insult against a female baseball analyst on ESPN during a playoff game, resulting in a bit of Twitter war. He eventually deleted the original Tweet and apologized after more than two hours of arguing with offended folks on Twitter about it. On Wednesday afternoon, he was suspended until Monday, October 12.
UPDATE: 2:07 p.m. October 7: Bell read a pre-taped statement on the air on 92.9/The Game apologizing for his actions. He apologized to his colleagues, advertisers, the sports teams that work with the Game and his co-host Carl Dukes. "I didn't get it," he said. "I get it now. There is no place for that kind of stuff on my show. I will be more mindful. I hope I can be a better talk show host and better person. This has been an eye-opening experience." Dukes then added that he didn't agree with Bell's opinion but they are still "best friends" and Bell will return. Bell has been suspended for the rest of the week. John Michaels is covering for him. Program director Terry Foxx said Bell will be back on Monday, October 12.
He was annoyed with Jessica Mendoza, the first female baseball analyst in ESPN history, who was providing her thoughts during the New York Yankees/Houston Astros playoff game Tuesday night. She is a two-time gold medal winner in softball.
Bell's beef is he thinks color commentators should be professionals or former professionals from that particular sport, as in Major League Baseball. He doesn't see softball as the same as baseball.
But he made his complaint in a rather crass way, referencing a joke from the 2004 film "Anchorman" where Ron Burgundy changed the script so an announcer called his female co-anchor Veronica Cornerstone using a word for breast I really can't use here myself (but will include in the Tweets) that rhymes with bits, with McGhee added on it. (How awkward was that?)
This following poll was posted before the suspension but feel free to take it anyway:
Though Bell deleted the original Tweet, someone sent me a copy they had saved. I blurred out part of the offensive word:
Here's a sampling of some of his defenses:
After several hours of back and forth, he finally gave in and posted this (and he repeated the insult, where I again blurred out part of it):
Bell is a veteran sports talk host in town, spending most of his years at the now defunct 790/The Zone. He joined 92.9/The Game in the summer of 2014 soon after the Zone dropped all its local hosts and is paired up with Carl Dukes.
He has always fashioned himself as a kid at heart. His Twitter descriptive is apt: "I'm a 12 year old with a driver's license, just here to have fun. I dig horsepower, ribeyes & brown liquor." His portrait photo? The Rat Pack.
Bell did not respond this morning to comment about the situation. I presume his statement on air today will be all until he returns.
He has also taken himself off Twitter. His @mikebell929 is no longer online for now. A former 92.9/The Game host and now NBA-TV host Kristen Ledlow posted the following: