NFL radio station hosts joke about rape, tell Saints fans displaced by Katrina to stop whining and shut the hell up
Dear Commissioner Goodell:
I know you have your hands full with the bad behavior of NFL players and coaches, so you probably didn't hear what the radio hosts from KSFO, the flagship radio station for the NFL Oakland Raiders, had to say about New Orleans Saints' fans displaced by Katrina flooding.
On the anniversary of 1,577 dead in
Rodgers: "I don’t wanna hear anymore of this crap from people in
Rodgers: "Maybe those people down there ought to stop their sniveling and whining...".
(20 sec audio link) (120 sec link for context) (20 sec audio MP3) (120 sec audio MP3)
(Transcript here or KSFO’s own podcasts from Aug. 29-30,
Why should the NFL commissioner care about the on-air comments of the hosts of the official radio station of the Raiders? Because they are tainting your brand with their horrific, cruel and crude comments. They are insulting the fans of another franchise and, to quote from the Fan Code of Conduct from another NFL franchisee, "Harassment of visiting team fans will be considered unruly behavior and grounds for ejection." Why should the hosts of the Raider flagship station be held to a LOWER standard than a fan attending an NFL football game?
Raiders' head coach Lane Kiffin appears every Monday and Friday at on KSFO's morning program. In the lead up to Kiffin's
(Audio wma from 5 minutes before Kiffin interview. Audio MP3)
Sussman: Officer Vic and I just about lost our lunch when I mentioned, "What do you expect, one of these prisoners to snap on a condom in the shower just before he ramrods some weakling?"
Benner: (Officer Vic): (Laughter)
Morgan: Oh for gosh sakes.
Sussman: I'm serious you know, this is a jail! It's not a frat house!
Benner: Would those be ribbed condoms for added pleasure?
Morgan: Stop it. Stop it. No. No No.. Zip it.
Benner: the basic kind? ..
Sussman: Let's get the coach on the line,
Benner: or with reservoir tips
Sussman: it's Hot Talk 560 KSFO
As you know, Commissioner, based on your own radio interview experiences, Coach Kiffin was almost certainly on the phone listening to the show prior to his interview. Is that the kind of lead in that you would want before an interview? Would you want your daughters listening to this while waiting for daddy's interview? Did the hosts hope Kiffin would join them in joking about prison rape? Sadly, this is not the first time that KSFO radio hosts have gone beyond the bounds of simple human decency, nor is it even the most egregious.
Lee Rodgers called for the torture and execution of a common criminal on broadcast radio -- but when 28 advertisers pulled their business due to comments like this, KSFO/ ABC Radio and Disney management shut up their critics and didn't demand that Rodgers apologize. (link) In fact, Rodgers brags about never having to apologize: he boasts that management strongly stands behind his comments and considers anyone who disagrees with him terrorists. (audio link WMA)
(Audio link MP3)
Melanie Morgan has called for journalists be hanged and electrocuted, and that people simply suspected of criminal behavior be hogtied and burned alive.(audio link wma link MP3) (With the recent passing of Richard Jewell --who was falsely accused of a bombing before all the facts were in-- I am reminded why responsible broadcasters don't incite the violent death of anyone suspected of criminal behavior.)
Recently you demonstrated that your organization will not condone abhorrent behavior in its players. There are some things fans will not tolerate. If your fans who are animal lovers need further proof of the depths that KSFO hosts will sink to, here is an audio clip of Lee Rodgers joking about lighting a dog on fire (audio link wma) (audio link MP3) I believe even Michael Vick wouldn't joke about lighting a dog on fire.
Of course KSFO wouldn't pass on any listener complaints to you. Morgan is married to the KSFO operations manager and if you disagree with Rodgers he suggests, "We'll trace you back, run you down and kill you like a mad dog." (audio link) (audio link MP3)
- I would like you to condemn these comments and ask Rodgers and Morgan to apologize to the fans, friends and families of the New Orleans Saints.
Coach Kiffin can speak for himself, but he might also seek an apology from Sussman and Benner and request that they refrain from joking about rape and other disgusting talk before his interviews on the Raiders' flagship station
- If all the hosts and management do not apologize on air and in writing, I would ask you to consider revoking their status as an official NFL flagship station.
Other radio stations take action when a host's comments cross into foul territory. Other stations don't tolerate this kind of talk. When a corporate partner doesn't respect you and your brand, maybe it's time for that partnership to be dissolved.
Of course ABC Radio, and their new parent Citadel Broadcasting, will say that it's just a numbers game and that all you care about is if they deliver the audience. Given your experience at NFL Ventures, you might want to verify the numbers and demographics they really deliver. KSFO's hosts constantly attack liberals, immigrants, non-Christians and the victims of natural disasters. Considering the diversity of the Bay Area, it's reasonable to believe that many Raiders fans fall into one or more of those groups being attacked. Is insulting the majority of your potential audience members a good way to attract listeners to your franchise? Rodgers even tells everyone who doesn't like his comments to not listen to the station.
I believe the head of your legal team, Anastasia Danias, spends a tremendous amount of time ensuring that companies don't state or imply an association with your brand unless you approve. Does an ongoing licensee with the NFL come with any responsibilities on the part of broadcasters? Or can they assume that once locked in, there is nothing they can ever say or do that would jeopardize their license with the NFL?
Finally, I know the temptation when reading these comments is to simply dismiss Rodgers and Morgan as ridiculous talk radio hosts whose views couldn't possibly represent the NFL let alone the Raiders. The station management may say I am complaining because I don't like the politics of the hosts and that they have no control over their "free speech". First, I will point out that these comments are NOT about politics but are repugnant comments directed toward fans, family and friends who lives were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina's flooding. Second, asking for an apology is not limiting the hosts' commercially-sponsored speech, but simply asking people working at the official station of a NFL team to maintain a level of human decency in their broadcasts in order to maintain the privilege of an NFL broadcast license.
My good friends in
Thank you very much for spending your valuable time investigating this issue and I look forward to hearing your response.
P.S. Considering the Raiders #1 draft pick, JaMarcus Russell, played for Louisiana State University and hosted friends and family following Katrina, he might want to educate Rodgers on post Katrina problems.
Anastasia Danias, Assistant General Counsel, National Football League Properties LLC
National Football League
Greg Aiello, Vice President of Public Relations
Peter Murray, Senior Vice President of Partnership Marketing and Sales
Jaime Weston, Director Brand Management & Integration Marketing & Sales
Beth Colleton, Director of Community Affairs
New Orleans Saints
Tom Benson, Owner Via Fax
Mickey Loomis, Executive Vice President/General Manager
Greg Bensel, Vice President of Communications
Ben Hales, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development
Amy Trask, CEO
Chris Gargano, Raiders Director of Broadcasting
Mike Taylor, Director of Public Relations
ABC Radio Networks
James M. Robinson, President, ABC Radio Networks -- Phone (212) 887-1670
Entercom Radio Network
Ken Beck, VP, General Manager of Entercom New Orleans
Kenny Wilkerson, WWL, flagship radio station of the Saints
Bobby Hebert, WWL
KRON, Channel 4 San Francisco
Charles Baglio, Director of External Football Relations
Oakland Assemblymember Sandré Swanson
UPDATE: If you are having problems with the WMA audio files try the Mac plugin called Flip4Mac download from Microsoft here. Mac people I trust recommend it. I also have the same clips in MP3 format.