What's the South Florida angle to the Don Imus media maelstrom?
Nothing, if you read the Miami Herald. But there's a South Florida radio talk show host at the forefront of the controversy, one Sid Rosenberg. It was Rosenberg, a host for Miami-based 790-The Ticket (home of the Miami Dolphins), who was talking with Imus at the time. He added to the conversation by saying that the Rutgers players were a "tough watch" and looked "exactly like the Toronto Raptors."
I don't listen to the Ticket (WAXY), so I didn't even put it together. It was Elgin Jones of Broward Times who put one and one together and is right now investigating (his report will appear tomorrow in the Times). It was also Jones who gave the Pulp the heads-up on remarks about black women -- specifically regarding a preference of "redbones" over "chocolates" -- by Rosenberg's colleague at 790, Joe Rose, NBC sports anchor and color analyst for the Miami Dolphins.
But perhaps the most extraordinary thing of all is that this should be a local story, but, well ISN'T. The Miami Herald, the newspaper of record for 790's home base, hasn't
mentioned it. Here's all they've published on the Rosenberg angle, from an AP article they obviously didn't feel the need to localize:
"Recent controversies involving Imus focused on a member of his morning team, Sid Rosenberg, who was fired two years ago after a particularly vile crack about cancer-stricken singer Kylie Minogue. Before that, a racially tinged comment by Rosenberg about Venus and Serena Williams stirred another controversy."
Gee, editors, didn't you think it might be worth mentioning that Rosenberg -- so "vile" that even Imus had to fire him -- found a home in Miami at the Dolphins' official radio station? And that he was in the middle of the "nappy-headed hos" conversation? Hell, at least one of their sports reporters, like maybe columnist Dan Le Batard, should have opined on it, right?
Ah, but this is where it gets really interesting: Le Batard also has a show on 790 The Ticket. That's his picture next to the balding Rosenberg's on the banner on 790's website. Think it was a little too close to home for Le Batard and the Herald?
The Herald's Greg Cote is another regular on the station, so there's no conceivable way the newspaper could have been in the dark about who was front and center in the biggest story in the country. They just flat ignored it.
The Sun-Sentinel didn't pick it up either -- all hail the Dolphins and the Ticket. It's not like this wasn't bound to happen. Everywhere the Brooklyn-born Rosenberg goes, he spews bile. In 2001 he was fired from a WFAN in New York for saying this about tennis sisters Venus and Serena Williams:
"One time, a friend, he says to me, 'Listen, one of these days you're gonna see Venus and Serena Williams in Playboy.' I said, 'You've got a better shot at National Geographic.'"
He also called Venus an "animal." But his bilious BS isn't confined to demeaning black women. He also has a thing for Palestinians. In 2004, he referred to them on the Imus show as "Stinking animals ... they ought to drop the bomb right there, kill 'em all right now."
MSNBC apologized for that, but Rosenberg wasn't done yet. When singer Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with cancer, he said, "She won't look so pretty when she's bald with one [breast]." That was so bad that Imus had to fire him.
After several months of unemployment, Rosenberg was hired by The Ticket, where he found a home. Then Imus started letting Rosenberg back on the show, leading to Monday's meltdown.
Elgin Jones has sent questions to producers at The Ticket. Neither of us expect much in the way of answers. They crawled under a rock in the wake of Rose's remarks and they'll surely at least try to crawl under a rock on this matter.
Funny how when somebody else says something offensive on their own station, those same 790 producers rush out with it to promote the station. Remember the Tim Hardaway comments about hating gays? It was uttered on Le Batard's show on the Ticket. And they had a field day with it, spreading it across the country.
What is they say about glass houses? Watch out for the rocks.