650 KTAR radio broadcasters Dave Welsh and Ron Manter are in hot water for what’s being deemed unwarranted criticism of Green Bay Packer player James Jones while covering his team’s playoff contest against the Arizona Cardinals. The pair spent most of the broadcast criticizing Jones for being a “classless thug.”
When Jones stepped on the field for the Packers’ first play, Welsh questioned why the NFL would let him play in “street clothes.” When Manter noted that Jones was in full football uniform, Welsh mentioned Jones’ hoodie, which he called “disgraceful.”
Jones has worn a hoodie under his uniform since re-signing with the Packers earlier this season. Despite the fact that the NFL has sanctioned the hoodie, the Cardinals broadcasters commented on Jones’ attire almost exclusively, even in the midst of a thrilling finish to the game.
When Jones blocked Cardinals cornerbacks on running plays, Welsh would exclaim loudly, lamenting Jones’ “uncivilized” actions. Despite the fact that blocking defensive players is a part of Jones’ duties as an offensive player, Jones was relentlessly criticized for it.
During one point in the third quarter, Manter surmised that, “this guy Jones received the opportunity to make a living for his family, but he wants to block other players from success. That’s why the African-American race won’t ever unite.”
When Packers fans did their famous “Kuuuuuuuhn” chant for fullback John Kuhn, Welsh apparently mistook the cheer for a “coon” chant against Jones, yelling “you tell him! Take the hood off!”
On a later play, when Jones provided a forceful block that knocked Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson on his back and sprung Packers running back Eddie Lacy for a 27 yard gain, Welsh left the booth for over 8 minutes.
Manter awkwardly handled the play-by-play duties until Welsh came back. Welsh then delved into an impassioned rant against Jones and the Packers organization as the Packers drove down the field with their season on the line.
“MLK Day is in a couple weeks, I’d suggest Jones read up about him. Martin Luther King was a pacifist, and he surely didn’t preach wearing hoodies to your job,” Welsh pontificated. Welsh later added, “if MLK were alive, he’d say Jones needed to implement more respectable blocking techniques.”
The radio broadcast ventured into the surreal when Jones received a hard tackle across the middle of the field by Cardinals linebacker Sean Witherspoon. Welsh, who has been involved in football for over 30 years, suggested that if Jones wasn’t wearing a hood and trying to be a “hot dog” he wouldn’t have been tackled by Witherspoon.
At the end of regulation, as Aaron Rodgers threw a heart-stopping hail mary touch down to send the game into over time, Welsh was still focused on Jones.
“Maybe if ‘thugmeister Jones’ had worked harder to get open, Rodgers would’ve given him the ball. But [Jeff] Janis conducts himself the right way and earned that play,” Welsh said.
Janis, who is white, refused to comment on the controversy.
When Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald dove into the end zone and secured his team the victory, Welsh called it “a victory against buffoonery,” and said Jones should “take [his] hoodie back to the hood” until next season.
The Cardinals organization announced Welsh’s suspension, but announced no discipline for Manter.
On Welsh’s Twitter, he notes he doesn’t apologize for his comments, and hopes the Cardinals defeat Cam Newton and the “ghetto” Carolina Panthers this weekend.