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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
1010XL Jay Fund Radiothon Raises Nearly $250,000 For Pediatric Cancer Research
“In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 billion for the Jay Fund.”
Jacksonville’s 1010XL used its airwaves to raise money for the Jay Fund for the fifteenth year earlier this week. The radiothon was a smashing success, raising $249,784 to fight pediatric cancer.
This year’s total is a new record for the event. In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 million for the Jay Fund.
“I’m truly amazed at the generosity of the 1010 XL listeners in times when a carton of eggs cost six dollars,” said General Manager Steven Griffin, “and equally amazed how the hosts, producers, radio staff and volunteers come together with a singular focus to year-after-year produce these results in one broadcast day.”
Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while playing for Coughlin at Boston College. The organization has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.
Parkins & Spiegel Wonder If Trent Dilfer Will Still Appear On Their Show After Taking UAB Job
“I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”
Former ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer has been hired as the new head coach at UAB. However, Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel wondered if that meant Dilfer would no longer be making his weekly appearances on Parkins & Spiegel on 670 The Score.
“Our guy is no longer gonna do a radio show out of Chicago?” Parkins joked, referencing an incident last month where Dilfer failed to say “Parkins & Spiegel“ during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
“I don’t know that that’s the case,” Spiegel replied.
“We don’t know that yet,” producer Shane Riordan said. “We have only shared a couple of text message — Trent and I — this morning and I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”
Later in the show, Parkins and Spiegel jokingly wondered what jobs they could have on UAB’s staff, with Parkins balking at being a sports information director. He did say he would welcome being the offensive player caller, but believed that job might fall under the purview of Dilfer.
Mike Milbury: Jack Edwards Is ‘Awkward’ and ‘A Different Breed’
“Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Boston Bruins television play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards has come under fire for recent comments he made about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon and his weight. In turn, Maroon donated money in Edwards’ name to a mental health organization. On The Greg Hill Show Thursday, former NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury both slammed and defended Edwards.
“Jack Edwards. Who’s Jack Edwards? He went through all of junior high school being picked on and bullied,” Milbury said. “Now he’s trying to get even. Wouldn’t you want to smack that guy, Wiggy? Skinny, scrawny, mouthy son of a bitch.”
“Jack is screaming at the TV all the time,” he continued. “I gotta turn it down half the time.”
When asked by Courtney Cox if it was appropriate for Edwards to make comments about Maroon’s weight, noting that the comments were “awkward”, Milbury said Edwards is a divisive presence.
“Jack is awkward. I think half of Boston hates him and half of Boston loves him. He certainly loves the Bruins and is passionate about it but he’s a different breed of cat. Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Milbury was “cancelled” after saying NHL players in the league’s playoff “bubble” weren’t being distracted by their wives and girlfriends being present. He was dropped by the NHL on NBC after the comments and has not resurfaced on a major network.
The comments and questions to Milbury came after Cox and co-host Jermaine Wiggins disagreed about whether Edwards’ comments were warranted.
Wiggins said he “thought hockey players were supposed to be tough”, adding “he’s got a few extra LBs. It’s a joke.”
Cox countered by saying “it’s not a joke. No one should be talking about it. Jack Edwards went on for like five minutes about it. It wasn’t funny.”
Hill said when Wiggins was in the NFL, nobody cared what television broadcasters said about them. Cox argued by saying “in your day, nobody talked to a therapist, either”.