Mike Francesa has spent the last 24 hours getting crushed for comments he made about Giants draft pick Corey Ballentine, who was shot after he was selected by the Giants on Saturday. Ballentine’s college teammate Dwane Simmons was killed in the shooting.
By all accounts, it was a totally random act:
“(The) Washburn women’s soccer team was having a party,” Navarro [Simmons] told the station. “It was in walking distance; they walked over, you know, had a good time. They were leaving, some guys rolled up, asked them if they had some smoke for sale. Dwane and Corey said no, and they just drove off and came back around and opened fire.”
It’s an awful story, yet Francesa’s main focus seemed to be on how it might make the Giants look bad, ostensibly because they touted focusing on character in their draft picks.
— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) April 29, 2019
The clip above was from Mike's "5-Minute Morning" app show. Here, Mike discusses the same topic on his WFAN show. This time, at least, he expressed relief that Ballentine will be okay, but he seemed to stand firm on the insinuation that Ballentine's character may be in question. pic.twitter.com/2xRMOX8NML
— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) April 30, 2019
This is offensive on a few levels, most especially the implication that gun violence only targets bad people. (It doesn’t, and Ballantine is by all accounts a high-character person.) There’s also the fact that Francesa chose to take a situation in which one young man was killed and another wounded and turn it into a referendum on the Giants front office, which he was under no obligation to do.
This morning, Francesa called in to rival program Boomer & Gio in an effort to set the record straight, and proceeded to make himself look even worse.
James Kratch transcribed it at NJ.com, and here are a few choice excerpts:
“I said this can be very iffy, if it proves the kid was doing something wrong or in the wrong place, that can make the Giants look very bad,” Francesa yelled at Giannotti. “I said we have no information. That’s how I opened it up.”
Gianotti apologized and said he had only heard part of Francesa’s comments, but then countered he feels it’s wrong to even suggest Ballentine could have been at fault before information is available.
“That’s fine. You do your show, I’ll do mine, OK? But if you’re going to quote me, quote me correctly,” Francesa said. “If you’re going to spend time talking about me, and sometimes imitating me, at least get it right.”
“You took it completely out of context,” Francesa continued. “Why don’t you say the whole thing? If you heard it, you heard it properly. If you didn’t hear it, than you’re making it up. … The way you said it, you made it look like I completely slaughtered him and said there was not a chance they didn’t do anything wrong, which I said exactly at the open.”
Esiason and Giannotti remaining calm and attempting to point out the issues with Francesa’s comments is impressive; they probably realized they had a live one on the line. Francesa is likely going to address this again on his own program today, and given how this has trended for him, he’s not likely to help himself.