Tony Reali

Long-time ESPN figure Tony Reali has done a lot of notable things over the years, but his actions Wednesday still were pretty unexpected. As Patrick Redford writes at Defector (the independent site established last month by several former Deadspin staffers), Reali came across an injured peregrine falcon Wednesday in New York. Here’s Reali’s initial tweet on that:

And here’s more from Reali’s comments to Redford in a subsequent interview on this:

I told you I’m not one for animals but I love the idea of the peregrine falcon! I go to parties all the time and ask people “What’s the fastest animal in the world?” They always say the cheetah and I always say, “AHA! NO!! THE PEREGRINE FALCON!!!! 220 miles per hour!” I guess I should say these parties are birthday parties for 6-year-olds and 6-year-olds love cheetahs, but they need to respect the peregrine falcon. And now I hear they’re the King of the Raptors?! Awesome. So now I’m geeked but also scared for her because it doesn’t look good.

She’s moved from the sidewalk to the street and now she’s NEARLY UNDER A CAR that was momentarily stopped at a light, so I go into traffic and stop the car. I tried to persuade her to move—honestly, no idea what I’m doing at this point—and that’s when she attempted to fly away but was clearly having a problem with that left wing and flew into the concrete wall of the Post Office across the street. Hit the ground hard. We didn’t think she was still alive but then she got up again and flew further down Barclay street. It was all getting sadder.

It’s a group of about five of us now. One woman called 311 and I went Defcon 1: Twitter thread. The photos got the attention of the Wild Bird Fund and then we were able to get the falcon in a box through some ingenuity from Post Office Police Officer Ho. He brought the box out and we kind of approached from multiple angles, (like the RAPTORS IN JURASSIC PARK now that I think of it! ). The box went over her head and then Officer Ho flipped it gently but quickly, like a trick a magician would do at 6-year-olds’ birthday parties to cheer up kids who just found out their precious cheetahs aren’t the fastest after all. I could feel her barely moving in the box as I carried it. I stayed with her for 15 minutes checking to make sure she was still breathing and then handed her over to NYPD Precinct 1 for the ride up to Wild Bird Fund and hoped for the best.

This situation certainly isn’t guaranteed to produce a positive outcome, and the Wild Bird Fund’s Twitter post on that noted the challenges ahead:

But it’s still cool to see Reali using his social media audience to make a difference. And hopefully this one will work out well.


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.