Earlier this year, WEEI’s Kirk Minihane all but demanded Red Sox rightsholder NESN remove sideline reporter Jenny Dell from Boston telecasts due to her relationship with 3B Will Middlebrooks. On Friday, NESN acquiesced, with the Boston Herald’s Gayle Fee reporting, “the uber-popular Dell for the past two seasons had been reassigned to desk duty and that the station was holding ‘an active search for a Red Sox sideline reporter.’”
“Jenny Dell, a multi-talented on-air personality, is anchoring ‘NESN Sports Today’ and handling other assignments for NESN,” station spokesman Gary Roy said in response to an inquiry from the Track.
The move — first reported by the Track on ?bostonherald.com yesterday — came after NESN faced increased criticism for letting Dell continue in her role as a Sox reporter while she and Middlebrooks came out publicly as a couple. We’re told the decision to reassign Dell was mutual and that Jenny had been seeking a way to separate her private life from her TV duties, even if it meant leaving NESN.
Sports Illustrated media writer Richard Deitsch polled other women in the biz asking whether it was ever proper for a reporter to cover a team while in a relationship with a member of that team. USA Today’s Lindsay Jones’ response summed up the unanimous verdict: “Never, never, never. Did I mention never?”
Even Abby Chin, the new Celtics sideline reporter for rival Comcast SportsNet, weighed in. Without naming names she said it won’t fly adding, “Women in this business don’t get three strikes, they get one.”