A US radio host has been fired after making sexist and degrading comments on social media about a female NFL reporter.
ESPN’s Maria Taylor is the network’s newest sideline reporter, making her debut in NFL coverage for the New York Giants’ home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 33-year-old has covered American football, basketball, and volleyball, but in making her foray into the NFL, it was her appearance which was scrutinised by radio host at Chicago’s 670 The Score, Dan McNeil.
“NFL sideline reporter or a host for the AVN (Adult Video News) annual awards presentation?” McNeil tweeted alongside a photo of Taylor.
The tweet was deleted but before then it was captured by the account Awful Announcing, and quickly went viral.
Without flinching, Taylor hit back at McNeil about the tweet.
“Well Danny Dearest if you would like to continue making sexist comments about me … please bring your misogyny with you to the NBA Countdown double-header I’ll be hosting tomorrow night,” she tweeted.
“Hey ladies remember you can wear whatever you feel confident in!”
That response drew the attention of the US sports world, with athletes and other members of the media – male and female – backing Taylor and slamming McNeil.
Soon after the uproar, the company that employs McNeil at 360 The Score released a statement to Deadspin, condemning his actions, apologising on behalf of the network and confirming he had been sacked.
“Dan McNeil is no longer an employee at The Score,” the statement from Entercom spokesperson Rachel Williamson read.
“For each one of us our words have power. For our brands and on-air personalities that is amplified and brings increased responsibility how we choose to use our voices. Last night’s tweet, and its degrading and humiliating tone to a fellow female broadcaster, was unacceptable.
“We have the best teams in Chicago, and we must continue to hold ourselves to high expectations to continue to be leaders in our organisation, our industry and our community. We apologise to all who were offended by Dan’s words, especially Maria.”
McNeil is yet to personally issue an official comment or apology since he was fired.
Taylor was given congratulations and flowers by NBA Countdown co-hosts Jalen Rose and Jay Williams after her Monday Night Football debut the previous evening, calling her a “role model”.
“The people who fuel me. Are the people who support me,” Taylor tweeted in thanking those who supported her.
“The only people who can affect me are the people who love me. I’m SO thankful for my NBA Countdown family. Once again you’ve lifted me up over a hurdle. And made me feel like a Queen despite the noise. Let’s crush the Finals.”