Michael Felger was not suspended from his radio program for suggesting Roy Halladay “got what he deserved” when dying in a plane crash — but NBC Sports Boston that simulcasts the radio show and employs Felger as a studio host has decided to discipline the host.
NBC Sports Boston announced Friday afternoon that Felger had been suspended through the weekend for the comments, effective immediately.
Felger’s comments, which included that “he roots for the wall” in matters such as the crash that killed NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt in 2001, came Wednesday, a day after Halladay’s death in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Friday, The simulcast of the “Felger and Massarotti” radio show was replaced on the regional cable television network by a replay of Monday’s Celtics-Hawks game.
“As a result of his insensitive comments about Roy Halladay and Dale Earnhardt on Wednesday, Michael Felger will not appear on NBC Boston effective immediately through Sunday,’’ the network said in a statement. “While we don’t have editorial control of the content of his radio show, which we simulcast, Felger’s comments are not representative of our views or standards.”
Felger also missed Friday’s “Early Edition” program on NBC Sports Boston, of which he is one of three hosts. He also will be absent from the network’s pre- and postgame Patriots programming.
Asked via e-mail whether the suspension was with or without pay, a network spokesperson said there would be no further comment beyond the statement.
Felger did not respond to a text seeking comment.
According to industry sources, NBC Sports management at the national level was particularly upset with Felger’s comments about Earnhardt and NASCAR. NBC has been NASCAR’s primary television broadcast partner since 2015.
Felger made the comments about Halladay and Earnhardt at the end of an approximately 12-minute rant Wednesday about the foolishness of taking dangerous risks. Halladay, 40, was killed when the Icon A5 he was piloting crashed off the Florida coast.
“When this guy went down in the plane [Tuesday], I said, ‘I don’t know the details, but hopefully this isn’t JFK Jr., somebody who doesn’t know what he’s doing, screwing around with a plane and killing himself for all intents and purposes,’’ said Felger on Wednesday’s show. “It just sort of angers me. You care that little about your life? About the life of your family? Your little joyride is that important to you that you’re going to risk just dying?”
The comments soon took a turn toward the sardonic and callous. ‘‘Wheee! Wheee! Yeah, man, look at the G-force on this! I’m Maverick! Pew pew pew! Yeah, man, look at this, this is so cool,’ ’’ he said, making light of Halladay’s mind-set as the pilot. “And you die! Splat!
“If I die helicopter skiing, you have the right to do the exact same thing I’m doing to Roy Halladay: ‘He got what he deserved.’ ”
Felger apologized for the comments at the top of Thursday’s show.
“In a nutshell I would say that I feel bad about what happened on a lot of levels,” Felger said. “I feel bad about what I said and how I conducted myself. To say it was over the top and insensitive is really stating the obvious. It was obviously those things.”
Felger did say that his comment about Halladay deserving to die was misunderstood.
“I was referring to me with that line,” said Felger, saying he meant that’s what people should say about him if he died in a foolish accident. Now there are maybe 20 other lines in that rant that you could pick out and make a bad headline out of and you could put in quotes, and I would feel bad about those, too . . . “
A statement from NBC Sports Boston on Michael Felger... pic.twitter.com/HsEfaM31QM— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) November 10, 2017