On Wednesday, the “Fitz and Brooks” show on KNBR completely ignored the Manti Te’o story. Okay, fine. Even though all radio hosts have computers within reach and producers feeding them information, maybe they missed the story Deadspin published at 1:10 pm that afternoon. Anything is possible.
Fitzgerald wasn’t hosting on Thursday, as he was traveling with the Warriors to San Antonio. On Friday, everyone knew about the story. Bob Fitzgerald and Rod Brooks knew people were talking about Te’o's fake girlfriend, and even referenced it. But they didn’t actually discuss it.
I feel sorry for Brooks. He knows this is no way to run a radio show, but Fitzgerald has his principles. And in this case, “principles” means avoiding any story that paints your alma mater in a bad light. But while the Te’o story was again bypassed in favor of topics that had nothing to do with Fitzgerald’s Fighting Irish, it wasn’t for Brooks’ lack of trying.
Brooks started Friday’s show by making jokes about a long-distance relationship with his co-host. How because Fitzgerald was calling in from San Antonio, there was no way to know if he truly existed. Obviously a Te’o reference, right? Fitzgerald refused to take the bait, leading Brooks’ bit to fall flat. Thud.
About an hour into the show, Fitzgerald teased a future segment with a reference to how he would talk about the “biggest mystery in sports.” Brooks asked if the mystery Fitzgerald was referring to was the “girlfriend” of Manti Te’o. Fitzgerald chuckled awkwardly and said, “I don’t know what’s going on with that.” Brooks quickly backtracked, laughed a little (a common coping mechanism for both hosts), and apologetically said how he was just “being a wise guy.” The topic was immediately dropped and never broached again.
Should a sports talk show aired in a metro area that’s largely worried about an upcoming NFC Championship Game focus on Te’o for hours on end? Not necessarily. However, pretending the story isn’t worth talking about (without even explaining why the story isn’t worth exploring) is so ridiculous, one has to wonder what KNBR is thinking. Is Fitzgerald driving such great ratings that he can refuse to talk about something, especially if that “something” leads more people than usual to tune in just to hear his reaction?
He knows that people want him to either eat crow or at the very least recognize that his university is embroiled in an embarrassing scandal. But Fitzgerald just rambles on like everything is normal, and the main issue of the day is whether or not Stephen Curry will make the All-Star Team. The arrogance is astounding.