Even in the no-holds-barred world of Boston sports talk radio, this seems pretty tasteless.
On Wednesday, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger and Massarotti host Michael Felger went on a long rant about former Phillies pitcher and two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay after he died Tuesday in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico.
Among other things, Felger repeatedly called Halladay a “moron” and an “idiot” and said the former MLB star “got what he deserved.”
“Weee! Weee! Yeah, man, look at the G-force on this! I’m Maverick,” Felger said, mocking Halladay. “Yeah, man, look at this, it’s so cool! And you die. Splat. And it’s over. So you’re that guy? You have to do that?
“Weee! Oh, look, I just landed on the water, everybody. I’m gonna tweet it! Splat. You’re dead. Two kids. Moron,” Felger continued.
Felger, who is also a host on NBC Sports Boston, declined to comment to the Boston Herald’s O’Ryan Johnson.
“NBC Boston doesn’t want me to talk about it tonight,” Felger said. “My boss doesn’t want me to say anything about this tonight. Again, my boss doesn’t want me to say anything.”
Felger’s on-air rant comes after TMZ posted a video taken by boaters who filmed Halladay’s amphibious plane flying up and down, getting close to the Gulf of Mexico minutes before crashing.
Tony Massarotti, Felger’s co-host, was largely silent during Felger’s rant but defended his on-air’s partner’s comments on Twitter following the release of the video.
“If you haven’t see the Halladay video, watch,” Massarotti wrote on Twitter following the online backlash over Felger’s comments. “And then try to tell me your thoughts haven’t changed.”
If you haven't see the Halladay video, watch. And then try to tell me your thoughts haven't changed.
— Tony Massarotti (@TonyMassarotti) November 8, 2017
“I’m struggling like hell to understand what I saw in that video. Because it seems like somebody who was not taking care of their own well being,” 94.1 WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi said Thursday morning. “That’s what I saw.”
Neither Felger and Massarotti responded to a request to comment, and management at Sports Hub radio, which is owned by CBS, declined to weigh in.
Chad Finn, a sports media columnist at the Boston Globe, said there is room to be critical of Halladay if the eye witness account is correct. But added, “ I would draw that line somewhere before saying he deserved to die.”
As my colleague Craig McCoy reporter, Halladay’s plane, the Icon A5, has come under criticism for a marketing campaign that sold the craft as the ideal plane for new pilots, complete with videos showing it flying at low altitudes.
“Since the recreation-oriented plane first rolled out two years ago, only about 25 Icon A5s have taken to the air. Of those, three have crashed,” McCoy reported. “The last fatal crash killed the plane designer. The NTSB blamed the designer’s piloting and not his machine for the accident.
First rolled out in 2014, the fold-up plane is designed to be treated like an ATV, which can be towed easily to a lake where it can take off from the water.
“The way that a lot of people described it is a Jet Ski with wings,” Stephen Pope, editor-in-chief of Flying magazine, told The Associated Press. “It’s really a play thing.”
Arthur Wolk, a pilot and Philadelphia lawyer who specializes in air crash litigation, warned against jumping to conclusions about what the TMZ video showed.
“It’s normal for someone to be practicing approaches to land on the water even if you don’t touch down,” he told 6ABC.
A full NTSB investigation into Halladay’s fatal accident has begun and a preliminary report is expected in 7-10 days, an investigator told reporters on Wednesday.