TIME Television

“I’m On Television”: Britt McHenry’s Classist, Classless Mistake

As more meltdowns go viral, will people's behavior change, or will our standards for it?

Why was it fair for ESPN to suspend reporter Britt McHenry after she went Dennis Quaid on a towing-company clerk on viral video? She gave the reason herself: “I’m on television.”

McHenry’s sole job, at its root, is to make people want to watch her on TV. To the extent that she followed “I’m on television” with “and you’re in a f*cking trailer” along with a string of other untelegenic, education- and body-shaming insults, she has herself to blame. As with Phil Robertson and many other instances of TV stars getting penalized for popping off, this isn’t a free speech issue. No one has a constitutional right to a TV job.

But also as in those other cases, it’s worth asking what exactly McHenry’s being punished for. For abusing a poorer, less famous employee? For doing it in such a way that we found out about it? Or for doing it on camera?

As someone raised by two hard-working parents, neither of whom went to college, McHenry’s “That’s why I have a degree and you don’t” classist attitude disgusts me. And I also know there’s plenty more of it in the world, not caught on camera. The more cameras are out there–in business, in our pockets, on elevators–the more bad celebrity behavior we’re eventually going to witness.

What less certain is whether the awareness that someone might be watching will make people behave better, or whether the frequency of meltdown videos will numb us to it. Let’s say you believe that anyone, like McHenry, who verbally lashes a service employee, or underling, or anyone in a lower power position, should be punished for it. Lets further assume that two or three–or a squintillion–powerful people have done the same thing, but off-camera.

If you could invent a magic device (like a video camera) that could reveal every such instance, would you want them all punished? Would you want the same to every nonfamous person who ever cursed out the cable-company operator? Or would the scale of it–there are a lot of jerks in the world–make it seem futile and ridiculous?

Maybe the knowledge that you never know when you might be caught on tape will lead some people to behave better. Occasionally, the power of example does some real good; Jonah Hill, for instance, was videotaped in 2014 yelling a homophobic slur, and it produced one of the few seemingly true, contrite and considered public celebrity apologies. He went through the now-familiar ritual of public shaming, came out of it with his career just fine, and hopefully he and maybe a few fans learned an actual lesson.

But the more meltdowns become public–not just celebrity ones, but increasing cable-TV fodder of amateur bad behavior–the more I wonder if they’ll become cautionary tales or just entertainment. It’s something we’ll have to work out, intentionally or gradually–will we define our standards of behavior up, or our ability to be shocked down? As McHenry reminded us, she’s on TV. But these days, who isn’t?

Read next: ESPN Suspends Reporter Britt McHenry Over Leaked Parking Lot Video

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME viral

Watch an ESPN Reporter Freak Out at a Car Impound Attendant

"Lose some weight, baby girl"

ESPN’s Britt McHenry has been suspended after a video of her cursing at a worker at a car impound went viral.

“I’m in the news, sweetheart, I will f***ing sue this place,” McHenry says to the attendant at Advance Towing in Arlington, Virginia. She goes on to berate the attendant for her appearance and job, saying, “Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh? Cause they look so stunning … Cause I’m on television and you’re in a f***ing trailer, honey.”

ESPN suspend McHenry after the rant, and McHenry took to Twitter to apologize:

TIME Appreciation

Kid Who Won ESPN’s March Madness Bracket Donates Xbox Prize to Make-A-Wish

He got one Xbox for himself and another to donate

We told you earlier this week about Sam Holtz, the 12-year-old who tied for the best bracket in this year’s ESPN Tournament Challenge out of 11.57 million entries.

It turns out that even though he had his dad’s permission to enter the contest, he wasn’t eligible for the drawing for a $20,000 Best Buy gift card and a trip to Maui since he was not 18 or older.

Best Buy was gracious enough to award Holtz a $1,000 gift card anyway, and he did what many kids his age would do: purchase himself an Xbox One, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Holtz still had money on the gift card left over, and instead of using it on himself, he decided to buy another Xbox One and donate it to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

He explained his decision to the Tribune:

“I decided to donate one of the Xbox One systems to Make-A-Wish because of my cousin Alec,” Sam said. “When he was real little, he was in Make-A-Wish, and back then [23 years ago], people granted his wish of going to Disney World. I thought I’d kind of repay them for what they did for my cousin [who survived his illness and is now an adult].”

It’s a terrific gesture by Holtz, who’s got to still be riding high after pulling off the impressive bracket feat.


This article originally appeared on SI.com.


TIME Football

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick Launches Searing Verbal Attack on Fan via Twitter

"Get better at life!"

Colin Kaepernick, the talented but often criticized quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, lashed out at a fan on Twitter on Wednesday.

The outburst started after Kaepernick posted this on his timeline:

To which the fan, Stephen Batten, replied:

That was enough to prompt Kaepernick to let loose with a volley of tweets going after Batten.

It is unconfirmed if Batten indeed had eight followers when he sent out the first tweet, but as of publishing he now has over 1,500 followers — and that number is climbing fast.

Batten has yet to respond to Kaepernick’s broadside, while the quarterback retweeted the support he received from fans and media alike, including the famous sportscaster Erin Andrews.

This is the second time in two weeks that a controversial athlete has become embroiled with a fan on social media. Last Monday, embattled Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III got into a heated argument with a fan on Instagram.

TIME Baseball

Yankees Slugger A-Rod Apologizes for Misconduct

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez runs to third base in their MLB American League baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston, Massachusetts, August 18, 2013
Dominick Reuter—Reuters New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez runs to third base in their MLB baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston on August 18, 2013

"As far as the Yankees are concerned, the next step is to play baseball in spring training"

Alex Rodriguez apologized to New York Yankees top executives on Tuesday, ahead of his return to professional baseball after a yearlong suspension for steroid use.

The strain was created when Rodriguez, widely considered one of the top talents to ever play the game, was suspended for the 2014 Major League Baseball (MLB) season as punishment for his role in the Biogenesis of America steroids scandal that ensnared the MLB in 2013.

In an effort to reverse the suspension, the three-time American League Most Valuable Player sued MLB, its players’ union and a Yankees team physician.

The Yankees and Rodriguez issued a joint statement on Tuesday.

“Alex initiated the meeting and apologized to the organization for his actions over the past several years,” the statement said. “There was an honest and frank discussion on all of the issues. As far as the Yankees are concerned, the next step is to play baseball in spring training.”

Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, is set to make $61 million over the next three years, thanks to a 10-year $275 million contract he signed in 2007.

According to ESPN sources, Rodriguez will also apologize to the media prior to the start of spring training in late February.

TIME viral

Watch College Football Personalities Read Mean Tweets About Themselves

From famous coaches to Tim Tebow

Jimmy Kimmel is back with another installment of his show’s popular “Mean Tweets” segment. Usually he goes for celebrities like Lena Dunham and Matthew McConaughey, but this time Kimmel goes after a different demographic.

In honor of Ohio State and Oregon’s national title game, Kimmel decided to make college football stars and ESPN personalities read the horrible things people have to say about them online. Victims range from University of Oregon coach Mark Helfrich to Tim Tebow.

You would think that this bit would get old. It literally never does.

TIME Media

Thank You, Stuart Scott, for Your Unapologetic Blackness

Stuart Scott accepts the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2014 ESPYS in Los Angeles on July 16, 2014.
Kevin Winter—Getty Images Stuart Scott accepts the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2014 ESPYS in Los Angeles on July 16, 2014.

xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

You changed the game forever


There were times when a trip to the ESPN website’s comment section made me want to (a) take a shower and (b) call the Southern Poverty Law Center to file a hate crime complaint whenever legendary anchor Stuart Scott was being discussed.

But Scott, who passed away at the age of 49, didn’t ever let the prejudices he was working against slow him down. On the contrary, he changed the game entirely.

By remaining true to himself despite calls for him to be less “urban,” Scott managed to connect African American sports fans — fans that most sports networks couldn’t be bothered to reach out to — to the games they love and educated all of us in the process.

When I got the news that the ESPN SportCenter host had finally succumbed to the cancer that he had been fighting like a boss for much of the last eight years, I thought about a trip I took in 1996.

A friend of mine was credentialed to cover the National Basketball Association Draft, and because he needed a ride to the Continental Airlines (now the Izod) Arena in the New Jersey Meadowlands, I got a credential too.

Everyone in Philly was paying close attention to this particular Draft for two reasons: one, the Philadelphia 76ers, a team whose ineptitude over the years is the stuff of NBA records, had a Lottery pick, which meant that they were going to get a player that would make an immediate impact.

And two, the buzz was that the Sixers were actually going to do something useful with their lottery pick and use it to grab a flashy, undersized point guard from Georgetown named Allen Iverson.

A.I. was the talk of the City of Brotherly Love. He won the Rookie of the Year award with a game more at home on a guy twice his size. He led the Sixers to the playoffs more often than not.

But Iverson — like sportscaster Scott and his urban language — also caused his share of “problems.”

For example, he refused to wear a suit on the team plane, opting instead for sweat suits and sneakers. He was covered in tattoos and wore his rather large Afro in cornrows on the court.

By the time he retired a few years ago, Iverson had inspired NBA Commissioner David Stern to create a dress code and put a few other rules in place to take some of this influence out of a game played by guys who grew up in urban areas.

But despite Stern’s best efforts to make the NBA a lot more palatable to a crowd that’s waiting for Larry Bird to come through the doors of the Boston Garden, the league’s parquet floors are still filled with men covered in tattoos, wearing cornrows and bringing the urban swagger that they picked up on the courts where they learned the game.

Kind of like the swagger that Scott brought to telling the stories of their exploits on “SportsCenter.” Like Iverson changed the game on the court, Scott managed to change the game for sports television.

For a lot of people, Scott’s phrases like “Can I get a witness from the congregation?!” or “Cool as the other side of the pillow,” or a whole host of other phrases heard commonly in the Black community were landmark and unapologetic.

And if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone shout “Booyah!” to one another just the same way Scott did on TV, I would be writing this piece from my villa in Barcelona, Spain.

My relationship was like many Americans with the sportscaster. Scott was often the last voice that I heard as I fell asleep at night.

I say this because I live with a sportswriter.

ESPN and I became acquainted whether I wanted to or not. Before seeing Scott for the first time at a National Association of Black Journalists convention, I already felt like I knew the man because of that late-night version of “SportsCenter” that played me to sleep every night.

For me, Scott made the hours and hours spent watching “SportsCenter” (sometimes three times in a row, the 90-minute program played again and again) an unforgettable and entertaining and very real slice of television — because Scott brought the games to life in a way that you didn’t see elsewhere on television.

Just like any Black church in South Philly on Sunday, he spoke the words of the preacher: “Can I get a witness from the congregation?!”

He could and he did.

Scott also made it a point to reach out to another group that sports networks don’t often bother to reach out to: young, African American reporters. Every year, the NABJ Sports Task Force holds a Mentor Breakfast that’s sponsored by ESPN. He was a constant presence there and mentored in a way that’s become legendary.

We don’t even notice how much our language has changed in the years since Scott first presided over the network like a formidable, unflinching presence breaking the rules and ignoring the common parlance.

And that is his legacy.

Denise Clay is a journalist and educator in Philadelphia. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME mma

Jon ‘Bones’ Jones Enters Drug Rehab Just Days After Defending His Title

UFC 182: Jones v Cormier
Brandon Magnus — Getty Images UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones speaks to the media during the UFC 182 post-fight press conference inside the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on Jan. 3, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Officials say the UFC light heavyweight champion tested positive for cocaine

Mixed Martial Arts sensation Jon Jones has reportedly entered a drug rehabilitation center after testing positive for cocaine just days after successfully defending his UFC light heavyweight title in Las Vegas.

“Jones has checked himself into a rehab center,” Bob Bennet, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, told ESPN on Tuesday. “And at this time, I would direct any further questions regarding his situation to Mr. Jones or the UFC.”

Traces of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, were found in a pre-fight urine test taken by the champ. However, in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency regulations, Jones’s win on Jan. 3 over Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 will stand, as the fighter was not on the substance during competition.

UFC President Dana White said the organization supported Jones’s decision to seek professional help.

“I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility,” said White in a statement. “I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is.”

TIME Media

You’ll Soon Be Able to Stream ESPN Online for $20 Per Month

New service will also include TBS, TNT and CNN

Cable’s great unbundling continues Monday with Dish Network’s announcement of a new slimmed-down package of streaming TV channels that will include the most valuable cable network of them all — ESPN.

The new streaming service, dubbed Sling TV, will offer live online broadcasts of 11 cable channels for $20 per month. No long-term contracts or additional hardware are required for the service, which will launch in the first quarter of 2015.

Nabbing ESPN could be a particularly lucrative get for Dish. The sports network has been notoriously reticent to offer up its most-watched content to people who don’t pay for pricey cable subscriptions. Dish’s new offering doesn’t do away with the cable bundle entirely, but it offers TV viewers a more affordable way to gain access to a small selection of channels for the first time (the average American cable subscriber received 189 channels in 2013, but watched only 17 of them).

The full list of channels available on SlingTV are ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN. Customers will also be able to add extra channels through “add-on packs” that cost an additional $5 per month. A kids-themed package will feature channels like Disney XD and Boomerang, while a news-focused version will include HLN and Bloomberg TV. A sports add-on pack is also on the way.

The service will be available on desktops and laptops via a Sling TV website, as well as on iOS and Android devices. Dish is also making specific apps for Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Google’s Nexus Player, select LG and Samsung Smart TVs, Roku’s streaming devices and the Xbox One. Users will be able to pause, rewind and fast-forward content on most live channels, and some channels will will let viewers automatically pull up any show that aired in the last three days.

Notably absent from Dish’s channel lineup is any content from the broadcast networks—ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox—and Viacom, which owns cable mainstays like Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Dish says it plans to expand its channel offerings in 2015.

Dish has cast Sling TV as a play to lure millennials back into the world of pay-TV, as many of them have opted to buy cheap services like Netflix instead of cable subscriptions. “This service gives millions of consumers a new consideration for pay-TV; Sling TV fills a void for an underserved audience,” Dish CEO Joseph P. Clayton said in a press release.

However, it’s also possible that the proliferation of cheaper ways to access live TV could accelerate the decline of the traditional cable bundle. With HBO also planning to launch a standalone online streaming service in 2015, the number of alternatives to the tried-and-true cable model will only increase as the year progresses.

TIME Sports

A Look Back at the Life of ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott

Stuart Scott passed away Sunday morning after a seven-year battle with cancer

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com