By Tyler Berry
My knee jerk reaction when I first saw the Britt McHenry video was to write about how she's an awful person, about how she must just be this horrible blonde with a pretty face who got her job literally because of those two attributes...and I guess a couple of others. I wrote a couple hundred words in my typical ranting format but I stopped myself. I deleted every word. Why? Because the way I was writing, what I was writing, was making me look as bad as she was in that leaked video. She judged someone she had never met based on the woman's appearance and her perceived intelligence. All I was doing was judging Ms. McHenry on her appearance and perceived shitty personality.
So that's not what this piece is. This piece is one long, overtly rhetorical question to ESPN: How can you only suspend her for a week?
No seriously, how? You suspended Bill Simmons for three weeks for calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar. A liar. Simmons didn't call him fat or ugly or criticize his dental work or insinuate that he has miniscule intelligence. Britt McHenry did all of that. So why will she be back reporting in 7 days?
As a family-friendly company that is part of a much, much larger family-friendly conglomerate, how can you let this go with such a small slap on the wrist? Because she apologized on Twitter? Readers, feel free to join me in a slow, sarcastic round of applause right…now. As ESPN’s own Skip Bayless would say, “Way to go, I’m not impressed.” The PR release doesn't even tell us if it's a suspension with or without pay. She very well may be getting a paid vacation for her outlandish actions and words. Unacceptable.
Come on, ESPN. A week? Let me just reiterate that you are a company that prides itself on being “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.” To me, that means you’re tolerant of everyone regardless of race, appearance, intelligence, or otherwise. Does Ms. McHenry’s…ahem…verbal diarrhea fall in line with the qualities that ESPN exudes? It certainly doesn’t seem that way.
As far as I'm concerned, McHenry should lose her job over this. As a figure in the public eye, you can't act like that and expect to get away with it. Obviously, you shouldn't act like she did even if you aren't in the public eye, but that's beside the point. It’s clear from the video that she saw the camera recording her and she kept talking. I’d be remised if I didn’t acknowledge that the video was edited before the leak but it doesn’t change the classlessness of her words. She made her choice and there should be much loftier repercussions that she has to deal with.
What you’ve done here, ESPN, is let the public know that you find ESPN-on-ESPN attacks more important and serious than ESPN-on-citizen attacks. Maybe that’s not the best way to say that but it’s how it seems as of late. You suspend Bill Simmons for three weeks for attacking Goodell because of your extremely important relationship with the National Football League, but you only suspend McHenry for 7 days because of you're less important relationship with the public? It’s not right and here’s hoping that it comes back to bite the company and Britt McHenry straight in the ass.