It’s a precarious time in American history in terms of language and decorum, especially in the media. The days of the off-handed, mildly sexist comment are over. While that’s probably a good thing, unfortunately, when it swings, the pendulum tends to swing too far back in the other direction. For one Washington D.C. area sports personality, that pendulum has swung for the last time.
The NFL is a decidedly masculine sport. In fact, professional football is the one sport that can guarantee there will never be any of the trans community or women competing in it. It is simply too brutal. Naturally, testosterone and masculinity will lend themselves to so-called “locker room” talk.
In the male-oriented confines of the NFL locker room, that type of talk and behavior is fine. Unfortunately, Michael Sorce, better known as Don Geronimo in the DC area, found out the hard way that locker room talk is no longer tolerated in polite company, even if it’s joking and light-hearted.
Geronimo, a popular on-air personality for WBIG-FM radio in the District, was on-site at Commanders training camp with his partner and co-host Crash Young when he made the career-limiting comments. While he thought he was joking, the target of his jokes did not.
Sharla McBride, a reporter from WUSA9 in Washington, happened to walk by Geronimo as she was setting up for live coverage. Geronimo commented loudly: “Hey look, Barbie’s here. Hi, Barbie girl. I’m guessing she’s a cheerleader.”
As the broadcast progressed, Geronimo also took occasion to say, “I thought she was a cheerleader,” in McBride’s direction and comment to his co-host later on, “Oh, hey, there’s that chick that you thought said tight.”
Young attempted to respond and managed to say, further reported on NY Post, “Yeah, I screamed tight when she was,” before being mercifully interrupted, likely saving his job for the time being.
It’s unclear what Geronimo meant by “tight,” but at this point, it didn’t matter. The popular host had disparaged a female colleague, and that was quite enough for his employer, or more accurately, his former employer.
iHeartMedia is the parent company of WBIG-FM, which signed a three-year partnership with the Commanders in 2022, and they released a statement as posted on NY Post: “We have worked hard to ensure that everyone feels safe and respected in our workplace, and we took swift action when we learned that an employee of our partner iHeart made sexually disparaging remarks to and about a member of the media while she was broadcasting live from training camp yesterday. iHeart and the individual were not permitted to broadcast from Training Camp today, and we will continue to work collaboratively with iHeart to address the issue and trust that iHeart will take appropriate action as it works through an internal investigation.”
After the investigation concluded the next day, Geronimo’s employer discharged him from employment, sparing Crash Young for the time being. “After an internal review, Don Geronimo is no longer an employee of WBIG. We take matters of this nature very seriously and this behavior does not align with our core values.”
Sharla McBride commented on the situation as well: “When I heard the comments made about me on the radio show, I felt incredibly insulted and embarrassed. In my 17 years as a professional journalist, I have never been disrespected in such a blatant manner while trying to do my job. Their words were sexist and misogynistic. No woman should experience this in the workplace, and I appreciate the Commander’s swift response in handling this matter.”
The Commanders have been under fire for alleged sexual misconduct under former owner Dan Snyder, so their response wasn’t surprising. In fact, it also isn’t surprising that iHeart fired Geronimo. While what he said wasn’t particularly terrible or vulgar, it simply is no longer tolerated in a professional environment.
Certainly, this case borders on cancel culture, but considering the precarious reputation of the Commanders and the overall climate we live and work in, Geronimo sealed his own fate, and it is hard to feel sorry for him.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video.
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