97.5 the Fanatic’s “Bitch and Complain” line is for listeners to call up and air their grievances, sort of like how Frank Costanza celebrates “Festivus” in Seinfeld.
This morning, however, Eytan Shander and Geoff Mosher, who I guess were filling in for the Cuz, ended up bitching at each other instead as Tra Thomas mostly sat back and listened.
The argument, which I’d describe as one level below heated, but fair, centered around Terrell Owens and former New York Daily News writer Gary Myers (now with The Athletic), who said he would not have voted TO into the Hall of Fame if he knew he was going to skip the enshrinement ceremony.
It started with a caller offering the opinion that writers should not have a say in who enters the HOF, which Mosher disagreed with:
Shander: I think there needs to be more middle ground, because somebody like Gary Myers should not be able to stand up on his podium and demand that TO be kept out of the Hall of Fame because of who he was as a teammate or the perceptions of who he was.
Mosher: Gary Myers should be allowed to have an opinion, as wrong as it may be, (same) as anybody who stands up and say, ‘TO should be in the Hall of Fame!”
Shander: No, no, not for those reasons, and that’s the problem, is that the bias comes from misconception and born of, Gary Myers didn’t cover him! He didn’t cover him!
Mosher: Well, you’re not going to find a committee –
Shander: Paul Domowitch covered him. Tra Thomas covered him and played with him. So Gary Myers should keep his hook nose out of the conversation!
Mosher: Gary Myers covers the NFL. He doesn’t just cover the Giants and Jets.
Shander: That’s the problem, though, is that some national guy, you can do a national job –
Mosher: Nah, I don’t like this argument.
Shander: Why not? Gary Myers doesn’t have any insight.
Mosher: How are you – so the only people, so let’s say it’s Larry Fitzgerald – only Arizona Cardinals writers should get to decide on Larry Fitzgerald in the Hall of Fame? Because they’re the only ones who cover him?
Shander: No, the problem is that when you have this bias that is outside of the field of play opened up, then somebody who does not have first-hand experience of that player should not be able to let –
Mosher: But I’m telling you that almost everybody does not have first-hand experience with every player.
Shander: Which is why somebody’s off-the-field bias on TO is problematic, to be allowed in this. That’s why you need more middle ground. That’s why you need people who have either covered the guy – in TO’s case he played for 15 teams!
The argument goes on for another three minutes.
Honestly, neither guy is really off-base here. Gary Myers is an idiot and probably shouldn’t have a vote if he’s going to do a petty about-face based on some off-field slight. But in the same way non-Philly types can be biased against the Eagles, Philly people can certainly be biased for the Eagles. Of course the majority of Eagles media members are probably going to agree that Owens and Brian Dawkins belong in the Hall of Fame. If anything, outside opinions are more valuable because they tend to focus more on WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD and do not take into account any personal relationships or opinions formed by covering the player as a local beat writer. That’s not to say that Domo is biased, because I certainly don’t think he is, but it’s simply easier to evaluate a player for his on-field performances when you remove yourself from those other things that honestly don’t matter.
That’s not in the criteria, that induction into the HOF is strictly based on on-field performance, but maybe it should be. There really is no criteria outside of a specific amount of time a player or coach must have completed. I’d like to see the expansion of the selection committee to include more former players and coaches, which would minimize the role the media plays in the voting. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have 40+ media members comprising upwards of 80% of the group. There needs to be much more diversity in the committee makeup.
Also, I tend to agree with Charles Barkley when he says that Owens is selfish and has always made this about himself. If TO really wanted to make a statement, he would have said “no thanks” and simply turned down the honor entirely, or thrown his jacket into the Tennessee River. But he didn’t, he got his cake and ate it, too, so whatever.
Anyway, I found it to be good radio. The audio picks up around 3:50 –