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Checketts Talks About His Addiction and Depression

“Checketts resigned from the show soon after he was arrested for going 120mph in a 70mph zone with an open alcohol container in the car.”

Brandon Contes

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In an interview with Jody Genessy of the Deseret News, sports radio host Spence Checketts detailed his efforts to rebuild his life and career following a DUI last February.

His alcohol addiction began shortly after a cancer scare at the age of 25.  Six weeks after being released from the hospital, Checketts and his wife divorced, he fell into depression and turned to alcohol.  Checketts was arrested three times between 2003 – 2008 before remaining sober until 2016 when his radio career began to take off.  

Spence, who is the son of business mogul and former president of the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks Dave Checketts, hosted the afternoon show on Utah’s 1280 The Zone.  Checketts resigned from the show soon after he was arrested for going 120mph in a 70mph zone with an open alcohol container in the car.  The radio host was sentenced to 180 days in jail, but the judge suspended 145 days and allowed 30 days of credit for the time Checketts spent in rehab, leaving Spencer with almost one week of jail time.

“I’m not mad about it. I totally get it.” Checketts told Genessy about the criticism he’s received from the general public regarding his struggles with addiction.  “When you’re in sports-talk radio, you make a living with opinions, and sometimes scathing opinions about the actions of other people. That’s the job,” he said. “You have to have informed, educated opinions, and if somebody else messes up you have to be ready to take them to task. I’ve done it for 15 years so when the shoe’s on the other foot, you can’t throw a fit and say, ‘Leave me alone.’”

After Checketts lost his “dream job,” his radio show with 1280 The Zone along with his game-day analyst role on Jazz broadcasts, the host decided to launch a podcast.  Checketts wanted to go beyond just sports and use his voice to raise awareness for people dealing with depression and addiction.

“Let’s talk about lifestyle. Let’s talk about recovery and, really, ultimately, let’s help,” he told Genessy. “Professionally, that’s what is taking all my time right now. I’m really enjoying this, and I’ve got a great business partner. I’ve got a great team. There’s a real chance that this could be very, very successful in a lot of different ways.”

Reality Check with Spence Checketts debuted on Halloween, releasing weekly episodes featuring guests including his father Dave Checketts, former NBA head coach and current ESPN analyst, Jeff Van Gundy and former Jazz coach Frank Layden.

Checketts told Genessy he’s learning from his past and focusing on the present to make good decisions.

 “You can’t get too far down the road in the future and you can’t get lost in the minutiae of the past or else the overwhelming dynamic of what you’ve done and what could happen down the road is this mountain of pressure.

“That could motivate you to pick up a drink to numb your feelings. I try hard to not go down that path. Here’s the ultimate thing: It’s a pragmatic approach to life now. This is how I approach every day: If it’s working for me, I’ll continue. What I say to myself is, ‘Do the next right thing.’ Simply just do the next right thing.”

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

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The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

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Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

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Sports Radio News

Greg Hill: Ben Watson, Peter Burns Drama Was A Bit

“Be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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Peter Burns and Ben Watson shared an awkward exchange during the halftime show of an SEC Network football game over the weekend, and many are still debating whether Watson walking off the set was serious or not. Count part of the cast of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI as doubters.

“That was a a bit,” Courtney Cox said. “That was absolutely a bit.”

“Yeah, unlike the Chris Rock/Will Smith thing, I assume that was a bit,” Hill said. “I can’t believe that Ben Watson is really angry about that.”

“I dunno, man. There’s been a lot of speculation that it isn’t,” Jermaine Wiggins added. “There are people who are very sensitive about you clowning on them or joking with them. Especially with joking about their wife. Some people can’t handle jokes like that.”

After a back-and-forth with Cox about the legitimacy of the joke, Wiggins concluded by saying for some folks family is off limits.

“I’ve learned something in my 47 years on this Earth: be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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