Dan McNeil is out at WSCR-AM after tweet about ESPN's Maria Taylor: 'Its degrading and humiliating tone to a fellow female broadcaster was unacceptable'

Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune
·4 min read

CHICAGO — Dan McNeil is out at WSCR-AM 670, a day after a tweet in which the sports-talk host compared ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor’s attire on “Monday Night Football” to that of an adult film awards show.

Danny Parkins, McNeil’s afternoon co-host since March 2018, will work solo for the time being.

Rachel Williamson, Entercom Communications regional president, announced McNeil’s exit in a Tuesday memo to WSCR staff that spoke of the power of words and the responsibility to choose them wisely.

McNeil’s “tweet, and its degrading and humiliating tone to a fellow female broadcaster, was unacceptable,” Williamson wrote, offering an apology “to all who were offended by Dan’s words, especially Maria.”

McNeil posted Monday on Twitter, along with a picture of Taylor reporting from that night’s Steelers-Giants game: “NFL sideline reporter or a host for the AVN annual awards presentation?”

AVN is an abbreviation for Adult Video News.

Facing flak, McNeil deleted the tweet, which was preserved by the website Awful Announcing and others. But that did little to quell criticism.

Taylor — who was making her NFL sideline debut — not only sought to shame McNeil on Twitter after the game, but also took the opportunity to promote her upcoming NBA work.

“Well Danny Dearest if you would like to continue making sexist comments about me … please bring your misogyny with you to the NBA Countdown double header I’ll be hosting tomorrow night. Hey ladies remember you can wear whatever you feel confident in!” Taylor tweeted.

Taylor has been with ESPN since 2014 as a reporter, analyst and studio host and is known for her work on “NBA Countdown,” “College GameDay,” the NCAA Women’s Final Four, “Get Up” and SEC Network’s “SEC Nation,” among other programs. She has an MBA and undergraduate degree from Georgia, where she played volleyball and basketball.

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Reached by the Tribune, McNeil declined to comment.

McNeil’s comment came less than a month after WSCR reporter Bruce Levine earned a brief suspension after a quickly deleted tweet that included an uncharacteristically political and vulgar image.

McNeil’s tweet about Taylor was a reminder of the dearth of female hosts in Chicago sports radio and was reminiscent of a 2005 remark on Twitter by WSCR midday host Dan Bernstein, who subsequently apologized for his comment about a TV sports reporter’s breasts.

“Always disappointed, never shocked,” tweeted former WSCR host Julie DiCaro, whom the station dropped in an April cost-cutting purge.

Myron Medcalf, a senior ESPN college basketball reporter, tweeted: “You and all the good ol boys in this business keep coming for Black women, @DannyMac670. Why? I’m just curious.”

McNeil was 2½ years into the third WSCR stint of his 30-year-plus Chicago radio career, working afternoons with Parkins. Bosses at the station were confident McNeil’s worst tendencies were behind him.

“He’s hungry. He’s humbled,” WSCR executive Mitch Rosen said in 2018, shortly after bringing him back. “Listen, a month ago, he was selling cars in Northwest Indiana. He’s hungry to prove to everybody that he still is on top of his game, which I believe he is.”

While McNeil showed he could be thoughtfully introspective and vulnerable, including talking about his struggle with addiction and mental health, his history never was completely forgotten.

Perhaps his most serious infractions came at WMVP-AM 1000, which suspended him in 2007 for a series of indiscretions, culminating in calling a local female TV executive a “bitch” on the air. The station previously suspended him for an ugly on-air spat with a co-host.

“I’d like to think I’m more patient,” McNeil said upon his latest return to WSCR. “I’m more willing to be deferential. I’ve always tried to not take myself too seriously, to varying degrees of success. That’s an eternal discipline. I think I know what I want more than I did five years ago.”

McNeil, who has written columns for both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, is a former staff writer and columnist for The Times of Northwest Indiana. He got his radio start as a producer at WGN-AM 720 in 1985.

He later served as executive producer for Chet Coppock and Bulls broadcasts on WLUP-AM 1000, getting his first on-air role as a sidekick and fill-in host and as a contributor to Steve Dahl and Garry Meier’s program on the station.

His best-remembered work was as Terry Boers’ co-host on WSCR’s “Heavy Fuel Crew” from 1992-99 and on WMVP’s “Mac, Jurko & Harry” with John Jurkovic and Harry Teinowitz from 2001-09.


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