By Theodore N. Beitchman
No one has greater admiration for 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli than me.
His afternoon show is a welcome oasis in the desert of Philly sports talk, especially now that he is opposite the execrable Josh Innes on WIP.
Mikey Miss covered sports for the Inky in the day when newspapers gave you the facts (checked for accuracy, of course), some biting commentary and entertainment.
If he says it on the air I have a pretty good idea that the facts, anyway, are true, which is more than I can say for Innes.
So it pains me to have to call him out over something he wrote in his weekly column on Phillymag.com.
Maybe he is stretched too thin, what with all his airtime and the social events he talks about with his trusty sidekick, Martinez.
Or maybe he finds that ever since the disgraced Bill Conlin’s death, there aren’t enough ridiculous comparisons between sports and politics and the military in Philly sports journalism.
But there he is today:
In the ripest days of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was ruled by dictators named Khrushchev and Brezhnev, a dissident voice would be punished by a variety of human humiliations. “If you weren’t with us, you were against us,” was the refrain. And whispers in a potato line could get a family shipped to warm and friendly Siberia.
I thought about that a lot this week as I watched and listened to Philadelphia Eagles players support head coach Chip Kelly’s banishment of offensive guard Evan Mathis. See, in the world of professional sports, it’s odd to hear players turn their backs on teammates in times of contract squabbles. Players are normally in this fight together, brothers in arms, strengthened further by their own brotherhood union.
Let me be clear:
There was nothing more bizarre than the failed experiment in Communism that the Soviet Union foisted on its people. And they did, especially Stalin, exact revenge for those who thought and talked and acted outside the box.
Just read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago.”
Or talk to the many oligarchs who have been sent to the gulag by the former KGB boss Putin.
But comparing the Soviet regime with Chip Kelly’s?
Yes, it is possible that the Eagles’ whom Mikey Miss refers to have felt the spectre of Chipper’s revenge if they didn’t fall in line.
But I suspect it is also the case that those players got a bit tired of hearing about Mathis’ ridiculous salary demands — he reportedly wanted a raise for $5.5 million to $8.5 million annually for his soon to be 34-year-old body, which, by the way, missed seven games last season due to injury.
In either event, keep up the good work, Miss, but stay away from those historical references, especially when they compare a football coach to despots who killed tens of millions of their own people!