For years, the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick has been a constant critic of WFAN’s failure to maintain archives of Mike Francesa’s more controversial and/or retarded remarks (he even mentions it again in this week’s column). How strange then, that the bearded conscience of sports media would seek to defend a recently-fired radio host who deleted a series of offensive tweets after he sobered up. Is Our Phil a lover of asshole twittering? Hardly. Mushnick just finds it curious that Charles Barkley is allowed dozens of second chances while former Met Mike Bacsik is a pariah.
Last week, after the Mavs lost a playoff game to the rival Spurs, Bacsik, “loaded,” Tweeted ugly. In one entry he congratulated “all the dirty Mexicans in San Antonio.” Wow.
First suspended by KTCK — management acknowledged Bacsik had never before been a problem — he was then fired by the parent company, Cumulus Media.
And yet, there was mitigating context to consider:
KTCK, in the neo-traditional habit of mixing sports radio with young wise-guy content, would insert “just-for-fun” sound bites — “drops” — of voices referring to both “dirty Mexicans” and “a truck full of Mexicans.”
“I was stupid and drunk, and I was trying to be a wise guy,” Bacsik Wednesday said by phone. “But ‘dirty Mexican’ was in my head from the station. I was drunk, but it wasn’t an independent thought.”
Also, Bacsik, in his “condition,” Tweeted a vulgar shot at the NBA’s administrative offices. He says he was in a trash-everything/everyone mode — the kind that can make for popular, professional comedy.
And, for what it’s worth, Bacsik, who lives in a suburb of Dallas heavily inhabited by Mexicans, claims that he can legitimately play the “some of my best friends and neighbors are” card.
“My oldest kid’s teacher is Hispanic-American,” he said. “She knows I had no intention of being hurtful. We like each other. She knows I’m not what that one Tweet would show those who don’t know me, who don’t know better.
“I can’t apologize enough for what I did. I’ve contacted LULAC [League of United Latin American Citizens] to take responsibility and not run from this. I was on a radio show in San Antonio, today, but [ex-Spur and current radio host] Bruce Bowen didn’t allow me to speak; he just wanted to bash me as a racist, hate-monger.
“I’m trying to stop the hurt I caused and, at the same time try to restore my reputation. I know I was terribly wrong. Still, I’m not that person, I’m just not.”
Ladies and gentleman, tonight on TNT, before, after and during the Suns-Spurs playoff game, Turner TV again proudly presents: Charles Barkley!
This might’ve been an isolated incident for Bacsik, but there’s something weird about Mushnick totally buying into the broadcaster’s version of events. Amongst the delted tweets of Bacsik were threats of violence against the NBA offices and (presumably after learning he’d become the toast of the blogosphere), a promise to commit suicide. Exactly the kind of thing that makes a radio station program director feel super comfortable.