A Boston sports talk show host has been suspended without pay after issuing an apology for racist comments he made on the air last week.
Tony Massarotti, one of the co-hosts of "Felger and Mazz" on 98.5 The Sports Hub, was absent from the start of Tuesday's show, and co-host Michael Felger began the program by explaining that Massarotti had been suspended for the rest of the week without pay.
"Mazz will not be joining us today," Felger said. In addition to the suspension, he said Beasley Media Group, 98.5 The Sports Hub's parent company, is requiring all on-air personalities at the station to undergo sensitivity training.
"I'll just add on a personal level quickly, we all feel really bad about this, starting with the fact that it was said in the first place," Felger added. "Minorities in this country do have to put up with a lot of crap. Comments like that just make it harder for them, and we apologize for that. I feel bad that I personally didn't do more to correct it in the moment. I had the chance -- and I'm not talking about dropping it either -- I had a chance there in a split second moment to do something and I guess I froze and I feel bad about that."
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Felger said he also feels bad for Massarotti.
"Anyone who has been listening to us for 13 years or knows anything about him through his 30 years in this job in various forms in this town -- that's not what he is, that's not what he's about. That's what made it so shocking."
Massarotti had apologized on-air Monday, following the insensitive remarks on Friday.
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Felger was broadcasting from New Orleans, when Massarotti said on-air that Felger should watch two Black people behind him. He told his co-host that they might steal his car, after asking if they could hear what he was saying.
"They can't hear us, right?" Massarotti asked. "I would be careful if I were you because the last time you were around a couple of guys like that they stole your car."
Massarotti seemed to laugh at his comment, while his co-host quickly moved on.
Fegler had his car stolen while he was in Louisiana last year, after reportedly leaving the keys inside the car, an incident that Massarotti's insensitive comment referred to.
Massarotti said on Monday that he wished he could take the comments back.
"They were insensitive, they were hurtful and frankly, they hurt the cause for those of us who believe in racial and social equality and all of those things, and I do," Massarotti said of his comments. "So, I owe everyone an apology."
His insensitive remarks Friday drew criticism even from colleagues, like Chris Gasper, who said that Massarotti was "still a friend" despite the remarks.
"He made a racist joke on a platform that has no black hosts during the week- during black history month," one person tweeted, echoing the upset expressed by many social media users since Friday.
The "Felger and Mazz" show is simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, which is owned by the parent company of this station.