After WEEI’s Chris Curtis used an ethnic slur on “The Greg Hill Show” directed at ESPN analyst and personality Mina Kimes, several sports media figures quickly rose to her defense while rebuking Curtis for his remarks.
Curtis received swift backlash after he used the slur Tuesday during a discussion about the possibility of a ban on “nips” — miniature bottles of alcohol — in Boston. He was publicly condemned by ESPN for his “hateful comments” and has been suspended by WEEI without pay until next Wednesday.
“It’s impossible to say it often enough: We are incredibly fortunate to have @minakimes ... gracing us with her expertise, wit, and reporting. Let the haters continue to wallow in their filth,” tweeted Brian Nemhauser, who blogs and podcasts about the Seattle Seahawks.
When program co-host Courtney Cox suggested that the show’s participants rank their favorite nips during a segment about a proposal to outlaw the small bottles, Curtis interjected.
“Oh, I’d probably go Mina Kimes,” he said.
Kimes, a high-profile personality on ESPN, is of Korean descent on her mother’s side. “Nips” is also a slur used against people of Japanese descent.
The conversation continued without response to Curtis’s remark — aside from producer Chris Scheim, who was laughing. But it wasn’t long before the station and Curtis came under fire.
“There is no place for these type of hateful comments, which were uncalled for and extremely offensive,” ESPN said in a statement.
Curtis offered a meandering apology during the start of Thursday’s show before leaving to start his suspension. Without any elaboration, he said he meant to say the name of actress Mila Kunis.
“I attempted to bring up Mila Kunis, which was not really that funny, [it was] sophomoric and sexist, but for reasons I don’t understand, I said Mina Kimes,” Curtis said. “That was never the intention for me to say her name. It had nothing to do with the subject matter, and it dragged her into a controversy through no fault of her own regarding a slur and her race and it’s not at all what my intention was.”
A spokesperson at Audacy, WEEI’s parent company, suggested Wednesday that Curtis had conflated the two names. When Kimes was made aware of the story, she switched her Twitter profile picture to one of Kunis.
Those across sports media coalesced around Kimes, championing the personality for her in-depth analysis of the NFL, impressive talent, and ability to stand up for herself in a largely male-dominated field with humor.
“Whatever job Mina Kimes wanted at this point I say give it to her. President? Attorney general? Department of Transportation? Literally whatever. She’s a national treasure,” tweeted Evan Sowards of 49ers Hub.
Ty Schalter of ABC News’s FiveThirtyEight had one word for those who cannot appreciate what Kimes brings to the table: “Quit.”
“If you draw a paycheck in sports media and you can’t see how good @minakimes is, how hard she’s worked to get that good, and how deserving she’s been of every opportunity she’s gotten? Quit,” he tweeted.
His words were echoed by Rob Guerrera, a free agent podcast host and alum of ESPN Radio.
“All @minakimes does is give us fantastic sports analysis every day and people cannot freakin’ handle it without trying to belittle her in some way. It’s disgusting,” he tweeted.
See more comments below:
Lol to anyone trying to derail @minakimes She’s way smarter and more talented than us all.— Melissa Jacobs (@thefootballgirl) March 23, 2023
Mina The Great!!@minakimes https://t.co/63Ia3ZLeQZ— Michael Eaves (@michaeleaves) March 23, 2023
Holy crap Mina Kimes never misses. An absolute legend.— Caroline Darney (@cwdarney) March 22, 2023
The internet is a better place every day because of @minakimes https://t.co/u0p12cGOpN— Anne W. VanderMey (@vandermey) March 22, 2023
lol @minakimes too good at this pic.twitter.com/MBQIO9BYpj— mike taddow (@MikeTaddow) March 22, 2023
I guess I get to mention that @minakimes is one of the funniest, smartest and all around best sports analyst going these days and... if you don't believe me check out the "controversy" she got dragged into for no reason, and then check our her current avatar. :)— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) March 23, 2023
The least shocking thing about this random racism against @minakimes is that it happened on Boston sports radio— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) March 23, 2023
Also Mina changed her avi to Mila Kunis, stays winning https://t.co/zPJP9vzmyR pic.twitter.com/HSxCVpKdk2
Shannon Larson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98. Chad Finn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn.