FanDuel - WFBC

May 28, 2008

ESPN Fires Pittsburgh Radio Host Mark Madden: Last Wednesday, ESPN 1250 host Mark Madden responded to news of Sen. Ted Kennedy's illness with this comment: "I'm very disappointed to hear that Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated." This Wednesday, he's looking for a new job. AOL Fanhouse blogger Ryan Wilson's response: "It couldn't have happened to a nicer jerk."

posted by rcade to other at 08:34 AM - 28 comments

As a Pittsburgher, I won't miss him. He is an ass and has alwasy said whatever he felt just to make the news himself. His reporting was poop and mostly he just ranted about unrelated issues. I have always discussed my desire to to punch him in the face freely. Hope I still get the chance.

posted by Debo270 at 09:53 AM on May 28

too bad.....in a society where everything becomes held as sacred, nothing is really sacred anymore.

posted by Hannibal at 09:56 AM on May 28

Yes, let us wring our hands about the possible loss of the Constitutional Right to Poor Taste. No one has to employ an asshole, though companies like ESPN seem to be perfectly happy to until a PR problem.

posted by yerfatma at 10:00 AM on May 28

Deep, Hannibal. Except for the part where I don't know what you're talking about.

posted by Skot at 10:02 AM on May 28

I think that's what's supposed to make it deep, Skot. Enigmatic and impenetrable sayings are held to be evidence of profound thought.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:10 AM on May 28

I always did like this quote from him: "Opinions are like Loverboy albums. Everybody has one, and they're all stupid." That aside, it was a pretty stupid thing to say on the air. My own first reaction to the Kennedy news was, "I thought in order to have a brain tumor, you had to have a brain," but I wouldn't be dumb enough to say something like that on public airwaves if my paycheck was coming from the station/network. A little common sense goes a long way, but that's never been Madden's strong point. Or we could just sum up Madden in this quote from Gene Wilder: "It's hard to explain bad taste to someone who has it."

posted by TheQatarian at 10:13 AM on May 28

While he might not have an outlet as large as ESPN Radio, I would guess he'll be back on the air in short order.

posted by holden at 10:59 AM on May 28

It's one thing to hate Ted Kennedy -- millions do -- but wishing for someone to be murdered, especially when two of his brothers were murdered as well, is less than cool. But given that Stephen A. Smith is making a go of things as a straight-news cable pundit, I wouldn't be surprised to see him pop up on some network talk radio (or F*X News TV) outlet at some point. This is America. Assholes who advocate murder of their ideological opponents are always welcome on the corporate airwaves.

posted by chicobangs at 11:41 AM on May 28

It's one thing to hate Ted Kennedy -- millions do -- but wishing for someone to be murdered, especially when two of his brothers were murdered as well, is less than cool. Given that a Democratic contender for Presidential nominee and former First Lady just about implied the same thing (of her opponent) by invoking the assassination of Kennedy's brother, this is pretty much a fart in the wind.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:49 AM on May 28

This is America. Assholes who advocate murder of their ideological opponents are always welcome on the corporate airwaves. Come on, that's a little extreme, don't you think? Now, if you were to add ", if the ratings are there" at the end of the second sentence, then you've got something.

posted by holden at 11:51 AM on May 28

Firstly, I have never heard of the guy. Secondly, it wouldn't seem that I should regret that fact. How much did he get paid? I'm not the sharpest tack in the box, but I know what not to say. Give me a dang job on the radio. I'll take the paycheck and not advocate murder or racial stereotyping. How stupid do you have to be to make hamburgers out of your cash cow? May he be reduced to doing the crop report from the Podunk station affiliate in nowhereland. And Qatarian: I love that Gene Wilder quote. I will use that at one point today and promise to give both GW and yourself due credit. I have a related quote on opinions: Opinions are like assholes. I want nothing to do with yours.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:13 PM on May 28

wc2k2, she may have invoked it, and that was really not cool, but she didn't advocate it, nor did she openly wish it to happen. Big difference there.

posted by chicobangs at 12:18 PM on May 28

ESPN 1250's brief statement on the matter.

posted by chicobangs at 12:22 PM on May 28

How much did he get paid? I'm not the sharpest tack in the box, but I know what not to say. Give me a dang job on the radio. I'll take the paycheck and not advocate murder or racial stereotyping. How stupid do you have to be to make hamburgers out of your cash cow? It's amazing, though, how many individuals manage to blow these gigs in exactly this way -- through a combination of foot in mouth disease and really stupid mistakes. I'm not just talking about sports radio, but opinion-based entertainment/"reporting" in all media (I can't help thinking of Mike Barnicle, for example, who to this day seems to really not understand why he was sacked). It almost makes you believe that once people get that kind of mouthpiece, a large percentage of them start believing their fans and their own publicity, and come to think that everything they utter/write is pure gold, justified by any amount of broken furniture, and that they can do no wrong.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:26 PM on May 28

he made a scurrilous remark That's a word I have not seen in print since college oh these many years ago. That was worth reading the article in and of itself. The award for Best Use of a Little Known Word goes to Bob Smizik. scurrilous Pronunciation: skurulus Function: adjective Date: 1576 1 a: using or given to coarse language b: vulgar and evil 2: containing obscenities, abuse, or slander — scur·ri·lous·ly adverb — scur·ri·lous·ness noun scurrilous modif.

indecent, coarse, vulgar, foulmouthed, obscene, shameless, ribald; see also lewd

posted by irunfromclones at 12:35 PM on May 28

...he regularly attacked were Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, Franco Harris, Arnold Palmer, Jim Leyland and the late Myron Cope. That the people of Pittsburgh let him get away with that is amazing!!! All kidding aside, the remark was in very poor taste. But as holden says "if the ratings are there." Every one wants the cutting edge shock jock till he gives them exactly what they want. Then it is ONOES!!! OMG!!! He said WHAT?! And yet some other radio station will probably give him a venue to continue showing the world what a buttard he is.

posted by steelergirl at 12:35 PM on May 28

This guy made his living by cranking out the negativity and nastiness, why the heck would any one, especially his bosses, not expect him to go over even the line they drew at some point? All the shock jocks do it eventually.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:41 PM on May 28

It almost makes you believe that once people get that kind of mouthpiece, a large percentage of them start believing their fans and their own publicity, and come to think that everything they utter/write is pure gold, justified by any amount of broken furniture, and that they can do no wrong. You're right. Money and fame changes one's self perception. Kind of like tequila. All I'm saying is let me have a grab at the money and see if I can control the urge to offend the planet.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:50 PM on May 28

Any shock jock who doesn't realize he's inflaming people at his own peril is an imbecile. No matter where your boss tells you the line is drawn, there's always somebody in management higher up who has the power to move it. In this case, Madden was given a pass by local management but ESPN's corporate offices gave him the axe anyway. People who express the sentiment that they'd like to see a politician killed are demonstrating incredible ignorance of U.S. history. It wasn't that long ago it was happening with sickening regularity. I didn't know Madden's work, but it doesn't sound like I missed much.

posted by rcade at 01:11 PM on May 28

Yeah, thankfully I've never heard of this guy before now. Rcade, his comment about the Kopechnes suggests he knows something of recent U.S. history, or at least Kennedy history. He had to know it was a distasteful comment, he just didn't think he'd get canned for it.

posted by curlyelk at 02:45 PM on May 28

I remember Madden when he worked for World Championship Wrestling. He seemed to be an utter cock then. Clearly very little has changed. Though I gotta admit, that line he got fired for is pretty funny and would have made me laugh. (Laughing does not mean you agree for all those about to leap all over me. At least take your clothes off before you do so it's fun!) Kinda reminds me of the late, great Kenny Everett who once got fired for saying "When a fly hits your windscreen, what's the last thing that goes through it's mind? It's arse." That was said on the dear old BBC one Sunday morning. So, does Madden just not like Kennedy? Or is he another Republican asshole with a soapbox and too much air time? rcade: I agree. Makes me want to go watch "Talk Radio". (A largely forgotten movie sadly.)

posted by Drood at 03:53 PM on May 28

So, does Madden just not like Kennedy? Or is he another Republican asshole with a soapbox and too much air time? People like Madden don't give the impression of being overly troubled by thinking before speaking. Whatever you think of Ted Kennedy's merits or faults, I think it's undeniable that the man has been a very convenient punching bag. When someone gets that punching bag status, they become an easy, no-thinking-required target for bullying louts.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:13 PM on May 28

I think the average child is in 1st grade when they comprehend that wishing someone would get shot is unacceptable. While I have never heard of this guy, he's trash not worthy of discussion. As for Kennedy, though our political views differ, I wish him well. He's an old drinking buddy of mine. Okay, it was one first class flight from DC to MPLS twenty some years ago, but we did put down 5 or 6 gin & tonics. Decent guy, seemed as interested in what I did as I was in his life.

posted by dviking at 10:20 PM on May 28

I've been sitting here trying to think of a semantic argument that could be made for what Madden said. A justification of sorts. But I just can't find it. I mean if he'd said "drop dead" or whatever... That's one thing. But I mean he said assassinated... There is just no way you can dress that statement up and not have any outcome other than Madden appearing to be the large corpulent shitstain that he is. Have to wonder how much bigger the reaction to this would be if he said it about Obama... Or Bush. Or McCain. Or any big political name other than Kennedy. I mean in todays climate, if you said that about Bush you'd get a visit from the Secret Service for making threats against the president... Ah whatever, far too much keyboard time wasted on this cretin.

posted by Drood at 01:35 AM on May 29

I love that movie, Drood. Eric Bogosian's performance is unforgettable, and it's set in my hometown of Dallas so the local mentions were funny -- especially when one stoner gives a shout out "to all the babes at Valley View Mall!" (Thank you Internet: Aforementioned audio)

posted by rcade at 08:10 AM on May 29

Put me down as another fan. I wish Oliver Stone would go back to making good movies instead of worrying about how important the story is or how large the potential audience.

posted by yerfatma at 10:29 AM on May 29

Drood, there is a book (an old one) about the real DJ that the movie was based on. It was a good read (to me), I think you would like it. Stephen Singular's book "Talked to Death: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg"

posted by steelergirl at 11:28 AM on May 29

It's all quite simple: Live by the jumpshot, die by the jumpshot.

posted by mattingly at 09:43 AM on May 31

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