Banning network personalties from appearing on certain local radio stations occurs when said network gets angry at said station. And it appears this has happened when ESPN banned its personalties from appearing on Boston’s WEEI earlier this month

It all stems from when Bomani Jones and Israel Gutierrez on two separate ESPN shows criticized Celtics fans for what they felt was over cheering for Utah’s Gordon Hayward in an attempt to lure him to the city (Hayward is a potential free agent) and noting that him being white was the impetus for the cheers, not his playing ability in essence saying that Boston was racist.

Of course, it led WEEI and in particular its Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show to criticize Jones and Gutierrez for their comments. You would think that’s where it would end, but apparently it’s escalated to the point where ESPN banned its personalities from appearing on the station.

On Monday with WEEI on Radio Row in Houston covering the hometown New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, Ordway, Merloni & Fauria noted that one particular ESPN personality informed them of the ban.

Former Patriot Christian Fauria approached ESPN’s John Clayton to come on their show to discuss him ranking Tom Brady over Joe Montana as the best quarterback of all time, but he said he couldn’t showing Fauria an internal e-mail stating “Effective immediately, no ESPN talent is allowed to go on WEEI in Boston.”

Ordway, Fauria and Lou Merloni discussed the ban on their show:

Ordway: … He (Clayton) said he can’t come on WEEI. And you said to him what??

Fauria: I’ve known John since I was a rookie. So .. 

Ordway: He’s a Seattle guy too ..

Fauria: He said “I’ll show you the e-mail,” so he whips out his phone….

Ordway:  Whips out what?

Fauria: (laughs) Whips out his phone …. so he whips out his phone and he showed me the e-mail that said … 

Merloni: What did it say?

Fauria: And it says “Effective immediately…”

Ordway: Immediately! 

Fauria: Immediately. That’s like whoa! Someone’s in trouble! He’s like, “no .. no ESPN talent is allowed to go on WEEI in Boston.” 

Ordway: They’ve shut us down. Immediately!

Fauria: That was January 6. 

But then they noted that ESPN personality Ryen Russillo has appeared on the station so the ban was apparently rescinded, but no one knows exactly when it was lifted. Clayton was fearful of repercussions so he refused to go on.

WEEI and ESPN have had a rather rocky history. While WEEI in Boston is an ESPN affiliate, the two sides have feuded in the past. When Bill Simmons was with ESPN, he fought with personality Glenn Ordway. During the height of the New England Patriots Deflategate scandal, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen decided to nix an appearance on the station.

So the ESPN ban is apparently gone, but no one really knows, so we’ll see if this continues during Super Bowl Week.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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