New York Giants legend Carl Banks was booted off WFAN after an argument with hosts Brandon Tierney and Sal Licata on Wednesday.
In addition to his NFL playing prowess as a member of the Giants Ring of Honor, Banks is a longtime WFAN contributor, having served as the Giants lead radio analyst since 2007. Wednesday, Banks was doing his weekly spot with midday hosts Licata and Tierney where the focus was on Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Earlier in the week, the show was critical of the former fifth overall draft pick, with Licata specifically claiming Thibodeaux “stinks” and “his body looks awkward.” Banks took exception to some of that commentary and joined the show on Wednesday looking to counter Licata’s claims.
“This unhealthy obsession for finding what is wrong with Kayvon Thibodeaux is bordering weird,” Banks told the hosts. “You talk about you don’t like a guy’s body? The guy just had a game that would put him in the running for Defensive Player of the Week. He had seven or eight pressures. Go look at Khalil Mack and see if he even had five pressures.
“You don’t have to like him. You don’t even have to like his body. But tell me you watched the game before you say he just stands there and you don’t like his body. He had a monster game. What are we talking about?”
Tierney argued that Banks was making it seem like they were being “unnecessarily overly negative” toward Thibodeaux.
“It is unhealthy,” Banks said. “It’s unhealthy to your fandom. If it’s not your job to find out what the kid does right, then it should not be your job to call him a bust.”
Tension on the show increased as Banks and Licata started talking over each other, prompting the radio host to say, “I can’t take it anymore,” before instructing his producer to end the call. Which they did. “Carl’s supposed to be on the air and educate us,” Licata said. “I don’t want to hear that we can’t give our opinion on what I’m seeing. Tell me why what I’m seeing is wrong.”
Banks was on the show for 20 minutes before Licata ended the interview so abruptly. Had the interview ended more cordially, the actual discourse between Banks and WFAN’s midday show over Thibodeaux is probably a non-story.
“I hate that that comes across disrespectful cause I really do love Carl,” Tierney said after Banks was off the show. “And he loves us, but after a while it’s too much. You can’t tell us how to do a show.”
Banks later responded to the exchange on Twitter, pushing back on the belief that he was telling them how to do a show.
“PSA: Everyone is entitled to their opinions,” Banks wrote. “However, if that person admits that they do not have *knowledge* of how something is supposed to work.. Treat that opinion as such.. *an opinion*… It’s not Fact. If they disengage, it’s not about *you*. It’s about the FACTS.”
While Banks is definitely willing to criticize the Giants on their game broadcasts, he’s made appearances on WFAN’s weekday shows during the NFL season for years and you’ll be hard-pressed to catch him saying anything negative during those hits. Tierney and Licata, meanwhile, are paid to sound like a fan, foster debate, and take concrete stances while giving their opinions.
Sports radio hosts are not going to try and peel back the layers of an athlete until they find something nice and positive to say about that player. That’s not how the medium works. While it was unfair of Licata to hang up on Banks, it’s also unfair to assume the hosts shouldn’t be critical of a player.