Atlanta afternoon radio host Mike Bell took plenty of flack for his comments about ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza during Tuesday night’s wild-card game, which included the crude Anchorman reference of “Tits McGhee,” and now he’s getting some punishment. There was no initial response from Bell’s station, 92.9 The Game FM, but they suspended him for a non-specified period of time Wednesday, which a source told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho will be two weeks. Bell also read an apology on the air Wednesday afternoon:

Bell read a pre-taped statement on the air on 92.9/The Game apologizing for his actions. He apologized to his colleagues, advertisers, the sports teams that work with The Game and his co-host Carl Dukes. “I didn’t get it,” he said. “I get it now. There is no place for that kind of stuff on my show. I will be more mindful. I hope I can be a better talk show host and better person. This has been an eye-opening experience.”

It’s interesting that the statement mentions “sports teams that work with The Game,” as one of those teams may have helped to precipitate this action. That would be the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, whose games are aired on 92.9. The Falcons  tweeted Wednesday that they were disappointed with Bell’s behaviour:

In another curious facet of this saga, Ho’s initial Journal-Constitution article on the Twitter backlash against Bell said it was from “The PC Twitter Police.” Turner’s Rachel Nichols wasn’t impressed with that, and tweeted a screenshot of Ho’s article at the paper with some criticism:

The paper never responded (unsurprisingly, as their @ajc account appears to be a pure story feed). However, the line was quickly deleted and Ho apologized on his own Twitter account. Here’s some of what he said:

It’s quite something when coverage of someone’s problematic Twitter comments is itself this problematic, but hopefully everyone involved can pick up something from this one. As Trenni Kusnierek says in the above tweet, the issue here isn’t a claim that Mendoza’s above criticism. If Bell had simply taken issue with her comments and said he preferred other commentators, fine, but he made it specifically about gender and got himself in deserved hot water as a result. This is a world that still poses plenty of barriers for women in sports media, including abuse on social media and attempts to bar them from locker rooms; Bell’s sexist comments here add to those problems. He also might want to study up on his Anchorman: “Tits McGhee” is a disparaging nickname for Veronica Corningstone (played by Christina Applegate), who winds up being much more competent than the boys on the Channel 4 news team. So, if Bell was trying to suggest that adding a woman’s a bad idea, he picked the wrong example. He did say that Mendoza isn’t the worst possible choice, though:

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.

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