Fox took a dramatic step in standing up for Erin Andrews in the wake of repeated meathead comments from Kirk Minihane of WEEI in Boston.  The network removed all advertising not just from WEEI, but from parent station Entercom, which controls over 100 stations across the nation.  It was a drastic measure and a powerful statement that Fox would not stand for one of their top female personalities being treated with such disrespect.

After Fox took action, pulling over $1 million in advertising from Entercom stations, Minihane was suspended for one week.  Apparently, that was enough to appease Fox as all of its advertising has suddenly been restored after less than a week.  It’s a quick, stunning turnaround.

Here’s the story from Chad Finn at the Boston Globe:

The network was apparently appeased by WEEI’s announcement later Friday — after the ads were pulled — that Minihane was suspended. Fox informed Entercom Wednesday afternoon that the advertising, which industry sources have estimated at a little more than $1 million, would be restored.

“We appreciate Entercom’s recognition and response to the inappropriate comments made by the WEEI host,’’ said Fox Sports senior vice president of media relations Lou D’Ermilio in a statement. “It is our sincere hope both organizations can now move forward.”

Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary said, “On our end, we consider the matter 100 percent resolved.”

Zachary said he expects that Fox Sports personalities such as Tom Verducci and Ken Rosenthal will be allowed on WEEI programming going forward.

I don’t get this at all.  Fox pulls their advertising for less than a week… and that’s it?  Now the company can let bygones be bygones and restore over a million dollars in advertising just like that?  So much for taking a meaningful, public stand on the matter.  Did Fox get a sweetheart deal to restore advertising that was too good to pass up?  Did Entercom promise a no-tolerance policy the next time one of their employees crosses the line when talking about a Fox employee?  Did they promise Cleatus the Robot his own overnight show on WEEI?

It appears Fox was content with Entercom and WEEI finally disciplining Kirk Minihane and that was enough to restore over $1 million dollars in advertising.  But it’s just further confirmation that the timeline is all messed up.  Minihane was suspended not for his original comments, nor for his terrible apology.  He was only suspended after the advertising dollars were pulled.  That’s a weak statement from WEEI and Entercom that they would only take action on offensive comments once their bottom line was hurt.  It shows that they didn’t really care about Minihane calling Andrews a “gutless b*tch.”  They cared about their bank account.

Fox was applauded for taking a stand for Erin Andrews and against the pervasive attitude that exists towards women in sports when they pulled all advertising from Entercom’s 100+ stations.  That stand was unfortunately short-lived.  Now Fox advertising will return to WEEI before Minihane does.  As far as Fox talent goes appearing on WEEI, it’s one of the shortest bans in radio history.  If I was in the shoes of Ken Rosenthal or Tom Verducci, I would have a very tough time going on a radio station that perpetuated such hatred towards Andrews and acted way too late to do anything about it.

Fox should have held firm, at least for a much longer period of time, to deliver the message that Minihane’s comments are unacceptable and Andrews and women everywhere in sports deserve better.  Now that the company’s advertising has been restored and everything is going to be all hunky-dory between the two companies, one wonders whether that message was truly sent.

[Boston Globe]