"Don't Fuck with my integrity." Not exactly what you expect to hear come out of the mouth of the NY Post's Phil Mushnick, right? He's a grumpy, right wing prude. Except that he's not. Bob Mantz, Jr. interviewed Mush for 1.5 hours today. Initially we had planned to write this up as a straight Q&A but some of the power of Phil's words were lost in transcription. So we went with the video post approach instead.
Phil opened our talk with a few unexpected F-Bombs. He had just written about the vulgarity of Sports Soup - what the hell was going on? "There's a place for the F-word," Phil said. "Two guys talking sports is the place. A guy who appears to be penetrating an ostrich (which appeared on the Sports Soup episode) should not be on regular TV at 3 PM in the afternoon." That was Phil's take. "There's a time and a place for things," Phil continued regarding our salty language laced conversation, "This is the place."
Phil went on to discuss the obvious media plagiarism that goes on - especially in sports radio. Two recent culprits included ESPN 1050's Michael Kay and WFAN's Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. We also discussed how blogs are often the target of folks like Colin Cowherd for doing that very thing...and how the top blogs always credit their sources. Always.
He also discussed the perceived hypocrisy of his column and working for a tabloid.
Mushnick graduated Waynesburg College (now University) in Waynesburg, PA with a degree in English. He joined the NY Post in October 1973 as a copy boy. "A grunt," as Phil put it. For 80 bucks a week he got coffee and drove people around. Eventually he covered the New York Cosmos and the New Jersey Nets as well as the late 70s Rangers. He became the Post's TV/Radio columnist in 1982 and feels that unlike some 'critic' colleagues, he is first and foremost a sports writer, while some of them are not.
Phil commented on the reader emails that he receives (99% nice ones...) and the difference between a positively and a negatively slanted column. He also has a strong opinion on instant replay, QB Ratings, and a possible entry into the World of Twitter. (He got a huge kick out of the Sportress of Blogitude's post Bud Selig Issues Meaningless Statement, So Here’s A Photo Of Him Picking His Nose.
Anyone who has read Phil's Equal Time column knows that it is his opinion. Strong opinon. We asked him what he thought of The Big Lead's recent article, Jay Glazer’s Training of NFL Players Irks Another Writer: “Journalistically … a Joke” Is Glazer's MMA training of athletes that he covers a conflict? "Absolutely it is a conflict."
And then, finally, we asked Phil about his strained relationship with WFAN's Mike Francesa. "Dude, Francesa and I used to be tight. He'd even admit - or at least he used to - that my columns were what landed him his own show on FAN. No fooling. You can look it up! Then he began - or tried - to use me." And that's where they split. And that's where Phil took a huge swing Francesa, "Don't Fuck with my integrity."
Many interesting tidbits came out of our WFAN discussions. Phil doesn't know if Sal Licata will ever get his own show. Yankees announcer Suzyn Waldman complained to 660's GM Mark Chernoff about Francesa's anti-Semitism. ESPN has no idea how to compete with Mike (and any suitable competion would soar against him). We miss one of his jokes because we're reading notes. And, apparently, HBO blow-by-blow broadcaster Jim Lampley is a piece of shit.
Wow. It's been a long day. Didn't know what to expect when we signed up to speak with Phil Mushnick. What we got was a silver-tongued journalist who doesn't back down. He also has a wicked sense of humor and is not a prude.
What prude do you know who has taken a piss during an interview?
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