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Tampa Sports Radio Host Fired for Describing NFL Players as 'Those Three Monkeys


Good news and bad news for Tampa Bay sports fans. The good news: the city's football team the Buccaneers have signed marque free agents Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks and Eric Wright. The bad news: radio shock-jock Dan Sileo will no longer be on WDAE airwaves after describing Jackson and two other prospective signings as "those three monkeys."

Deadspin reported Monday that the former University of Miami lineman and brief NFL pro said on his morning show regarding the prospec of signing Jackson along with Cortland Finnegan and Jonathan Vilma:

"They're gonna spend all that money."

[Co-host] "And Dan'll be like, 'well, they're not really that good.'"

"No! No! If they get those three monkeys, I'm good! I'm ready, man. I'm ready. I want those guys. Those guys are great players."

WDAE program director Steve Versnick soon issued a statement:

WDAE would like to apologize for Dan Sileo's ill-chosen on-air remarks earlier this week. He absolutely meant no disrespect to the players and he is sincerely embarrassed and upset that his off-the-cuff remarks might be taken as hateful, disrespectful, or in any way racist. Dan and the station regret any offense to the players; to the Bucs organization; and to the people of the Tampa Bay community.

One day later, Versnick said Sileo is out of a job. reports:

"One day after referring to three African-American NFL players as 'monkeys,' WDAE 620-AM morning host Dan Sileo is no longer employed by the station. WDAE program director Steve Versnick would not use the word 'fired,' but said Tuesday that, 'Dan Sileo is no longer with WDAE. We wish him the best.''

Versnick had no other comment. Sileo did not immediately return messages seeking comment."

It should be noted that legendary sports journalist Howard Cosell had a similar slip of the tongue in 1983, upholding much of his reputation but still resigning after public pressure. Bleacher Report notes:

"Howard Cosell was calling the Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.  Alvin Garrett (a 'Black' wide receiver) for the Redskins broke free on his way to a sure touchdown when Cosell screams 'Look at that little monkey run!'  Of course, Cosell received much pressure to resign for what was obviously perceived as a racist statement.  He went on to explain that it was not racial and that he referred to his grandson with the same term of endearment.  Although several athletes came to his defense, he ultimately resigned from the booth under pressure by the network."

Deadspin has audio of Sileo's remarks here.

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