Kirk Minihane’s Critics Are Not Into His Erin Andrews ‘Apology’
We’re one day into the storm that followed WEEI personality Kirk Minihane’s “apology” for calling Erin Andrews a “gutless bitch,” and those who took initial offense have weighed in: they aren’t buying it.
To quickly recap: Minihane initially drew criticism when, in comments about Andrews’ softball interview with Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright during Tuesday’s All-Star Game, he said:
What a bitch. I hate her. What a gutless bitch. Seriously, go away. Drop dead. I mean seriously, what the hell is wrong with her?
I used a word to reference Erin Andrews that I shouldn’t have used to reference Erin Andrews. I will completely cop to that. I said it, I admit it, that was a mistake. I just feel like it was the wrong time to use it.
I will say this. I think she stinks at her job. I don’t think she’s very smart, I don’t think she comes across as very smart. I think FOX only hired her because she’s good-looking. I think if she weighed 15 pounds more she’d be a waitress at Perkins. That’s what I believe.
Minihane and his defenders argue that this is an egalitarian critique of Andrews and FOX Sports. Minihane told the Boston Herald it would be “sexist almost toward her if you aren’t critical of her.” In this view, he was just calling for FOX to hire female interviewers based solely on their intellect. The problem is that he framed it as a criticism of Andrews—who, after all, can’t help that she has to adhere to higher standards of beauty than her male colleagues—not her employers or the broader culture that doesn’t make room for sharp female sportscasters who weigh as much as Cameron Diaz.
Most agreed that criticizing Erin Andrews for her job performance is fair game. The problem was that instead of bringing up examples of her sounding not “very smart,” he leapt straight to commentary about her weight. As when he called her a “bitch,” the act of pointing to her physical appearance to undercut her qualifications for the job treaded into the territory of insults thrown almost exclusively at women. Reaction was swift from what Dennis and Callahan might derisively refer to as “the PC crowd.”
A Fox Sports statement called him a “boorish, misguided, misinformed radio host.” Erin Andrews’s publicist tweeted “I certainly hope you treat the women in your personal life with more respect than the way you treat them on your show.” Deadspin lumped him in with other “Boston cavemen-radio hosts.” The Boston Herald said he “just doesn’t get it.” Keith Olbermann called Minihane the “world’s worst person in sports,” declared that WEEI must fire him, and argued that “he’ll be lucky if he finds work at the Perkins.”
Minihane wasn’t totally without defenders on Twitter, in the blogosphere, or most importantly, among his colleagues. Barstool Sports said, “I’m not going to hold anybody to a higher standard than what I hold myself to,” then launched into media criticism of the pitchfork wielding press. Dennis and Callahan did the same, arguing that Minihane’s critics have manufactured their outrage.
And with that, we’re in a familiar old culture war about being “politically correct.” If WEEI keeps Minihane around, it’ll be because his defenders successfully shifted the argument from defense of his comments to criticism of the “PC” media.