Michael Felger, the cohost of the popular midday 98.5 The Sports Hub talk show “Felger and Mazz” is facing a wave of criticism because of his 12-minute rant during Wednesday’s show about retired pitcher Roy Halladay’s death.
Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, died Tuesday when the tiny sport plane he was flying crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. The plane, an ICON A5, was made for entry-level pilots like him.
Felger showed no sympathy for Halladay a day after his death, calling him a “moron” and “idiot” for flying the plane.
“He got what he deserved,” Felger declared. “That’s how you’re wired? And that’s how you die? Bon voyage.”
“It just sort of angers me,” Felger said. “You care that little about your life? Or about the life of your family? Your little joyride is that important to you? . . . With your hand out the window: ‘Weeee! Weeee! Yeah, man, look at the G-force on this! I’m Maverick, pyew pyew! Yeah, man, look at this, this is so cool!’ And you die. Splat. And it’s over. So you’re that guy? You have to do that?
“I just can’t relate to him,” Felger continued. “I don’t respect him. To the point now where that guy is like the bad guy to me. You got this family, and you’re going to screw around in this little toy plane?”
“I find that offensive, that you are that cavalier about life,” Felger said shortly after. “I’m sorry, dude, you’re on your own. I got no sympathy for you. I feel horribly for your family. I find it offensive.”
During the segment, Felger also mocked racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Sr., who died in a crash in 2001.
“Dale Earnhardt? The racecar driver who died? I root for the wall. I really do. That ain’t no tragedy,” Felger said, before mimicking Earnhardt driving. “And then you crash into the wall? And I’m supposed to feel bad for you? Give me a break.”
Felger made the remarks after TMZ published a video that appears to show Halladay’s plane making “extreme and unusual changes in altitude” before the crash. Witnesses told federal investigators that Halladay was flying his plane low over the gulf shortly before it slammed into the water, according to the Associated Press.
Asked about the issue, 98.5 program director Mike Thomas declined to comment.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator said on Wednesday that Halladay had been a licensed pilot since 2013 and logged about 700 hours of flight time before Tuesday’s crash. She said it was too early to say whether Halladay’s crash was related to two earlier crashes this year of A5s, one of which killed both the plane’s chief designer and test pilot.
Felger’s comments led to immediate criticism from many listeners, with some calling for his removal from the show.
Felger is BERATING Roy Halladay for wanting to fly a plane as a hobby. I mean, he’s basically doing mocking commentary of Halladay flying & crashing, complete with sound FX.— Dan O'Mara (@Dan_OMara) November 8, 2017
This is an actual quote from Felger, “He got what he deserved.”
I’m done with @985TheSportsHub.
Wow they need to fire Felger ASAP for his Roy Halladay comments. Disgusting.— Anthony Buonopane (@Ant_Buonopane) November 8, 2017
Felger is known for his brash style and has gotten into hot water before. He made headlines in April after criticizing a colleague on-air for taking two weeks’ paternity leave.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.