On Monday, Fox Sports radio host Mike North said ESPN baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza, the first woman to regularly call baseball games for a national outlet, is bad at her job. This was a silly opinion but not necessarily an offensive one. Then he said she’d have been fired from now if she were a man, which is a silly AND offensive opinion. Then he offered zero support for his proclamation, which made the whole thing seem dishonest and mean-spirited.
The next day, the Chicago Tribune gave North and opportunity to apologize, and… nope.
“Fox hires me for my opinion, and that’s what I give,” North said in an exclusive phone interview with the Tribune, echoing comments he made earlier Tuesday on “Fox Sports Daybreak,” his nationally syndicated radio show with Andy Furman. “They hire me for my opinions and that’s what I give and that’s what I’m entitled to, is my opinion. So as far as I’m concerned that’s the way I feel and that’s what I said today.”
Then North offered Mendoza some condescending well wishes.
“I don’t know, maybe I should’ve whispered it, but I will say this: I wish her nothing but the best of luck and I hope someday I’m saying she’s a great announcer. But I am paid for my opinions. Period,” North said. “… I guess some people are offended because you can’t express an opinion about certain people. I have no idea. All I know is this: That’s my statement. I’m sticking to it.”
In his original anti-Mendoza diatribe, North clarified that his analysis had nothing to do with gender because he likes other women in sports media. But the question with all criticism of Mendoza is why people feel sooo compelled to offer opinions about her if not because of her gender. Where are the radio hosts going on long rants about how good or bad Aaron Boone is? Or John Smoltz? Or Harold Reynolds? If you’re going to single out Mendoza as a sub-standard commentator (which she may or may not be… that’s not the point), you’d better have an explanation for why you’re picking her to spotlight, not any other sub-standard commentator. North’s explanation is that Mendoza is the single worst analyst he’s ever heard, which is basically an indefensible opinion given that she has only even called a handful of games.
Also, “I’m paid for my opinions,” is a reliably terrible defense of offensive opinions. If you’re paid for your opinions, maybe try to have some good ones.