Local newscasts will sometimes take potshots at disliked players or teams, but it’s rare to see that on the level of what a Fox 29 Philadelphia morning anchor did this week. After earlier reports of Ben Simmons demanding a trade and saying he won’t attend the 76ers’ training camp, Good Day Philadelphia co-anchor Mike Jerrick went off on Simmons, saying “We just got in footage of Ben Simmons leaving hastily out of Philadelphia, let’s check that out,” then showing a dumpster washed away by the rains from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, and commenting “Hit his head on the way out” after the dumpster crashed into a bridge.
Mike Jerrick from the top rope! pic.twitter.com/WX5N7pVvOH
— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) September 3, 2021
(How perfect is the “We Go There” station motto in the lower left?!)
It’s pretty remarkable to see that kind of shot at a specific player on any sort of sports coverage, and much milder ones have led to apologizes in the past (such as Tony Reali’s “I didn’t want to Trubisky it“). But there’s a long history of harsh criticism of Philadelphia teams and players from local media, such as May’s “First-place Sixers showing flaws amidst eight-game winning streak” Inquirer headline. And this station has been over the top in the past, including with their interview of “the Astros’ trash can.” And Jerrick himself has quite the history, from a mayoral run that was an April Fool’s joke to his repeated work on Fox News to the fire he’s taken for incidents of sexist behavior.
While this specific incident is from Philadelphia, too, there’s a much wider history of media members from many cities taking shots when a player they don’t like is leaving town. We often see that on Twitter, and we sometimes see it in columns, and we occasionally see it on the air. While literally comparing a player to a washed-away dumpster (and doing so on air, on a local TV morning show) is a bit extreme even there, at least Jerrick didn’t interview a fake hot dog vendor.