Tony Massarotti, one of the hosts of Felger & Mazz on 98.5 The Sports Hub, has been suspended for the week after racially insensitive remarks on the air last week. His co-host, Michael Felger, made the announcement during Tuesday’s show — one he was hosting by himself.
Massarotti, 55, had been under fire in recent days following a comment during last Friday’s show. Talking to Felger, who was broadcasting from a remote location in New Orleans, he remarked on the two men in the background, one of whom was Black.
“They can’t hear us right?” Massarotti asked. “OK, so 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 received no pushback for his comments on the air, but later had to issue an apology.
“Late in the show on Friday, I made some comments that angered and upset some people, and rightfully so,” he said. “I wish I could take them back. I can’t. 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. I’m on that side of the line, which is what made this thing so difficult in so many different ways.
“So, I owe everyone an apology. It’s not who I am. It’s not who we are. I can tell you that until I’m blue in the face. Those of you who know me will believe it. Those of you who don’t won’t, and you probably shouldn’t. If I saw and heard what you did, I’d feel the same way. And you have a right to be upset. The only thing I can really do is apologize for it.”
Massarotti later added that he was “trying to be a wise-ass like I often am, and it just came out wrong.” Beasley Broadcast Group, owners of 98.5 The Sports Hub, did eventually agree by suspending him.
In a statement read by Felger, the company also announced that employees had to undergo sensitivity training in light of Massarotti’s remarks. The goal would be “to redouble our efforts to create a culture of understanding.”
Felger & Mazz is the most popular afternoon show in Boston, but it has not been without its controversy through the years — controversy that ranges from ignorant remarks about local teams and players to what transpired during Friday’s show.