Heidi Watney Talks Felger’s ‘Mudslinging’ On Toucher & Rich
BOSTON (CBS) – It has been a trying few weeks for the Boston Red Sox, their fans and even those who cover the team.
98.5 The Sports Hub host Michael Felger didn’t hold anything back on Wednesday, calling out owners, players and reporters.
Felger & Mazz: Fallout At Fenway
That included NESN’s Heidi Watney, who responded to Felger’s comments on Twitter.
On Thursday, Watney joined Toucher and Rich to give her side of the story.
“In the assassination of just about everyone’s character that’s involved remotely with the Red Sox these days, it seems, he brought my name in the mix and a rumor that I was linked to when I first got into town,” Watney said of Felger’s rant, which alluded to a relationship with Red Sox captain Jason Varitek.
“Which, by the way, is not true,” she added.
“So he (Felger) brings me into this cesspool of garbage that’s being thrown around here.”
Watney said she texted Felger’s co-host Tony Massarotti, to find out why “you guys are bringing me into this.”
She said Massarotti told her “nobody can control Felger.”
Watney, who was listening to the show from her car, said Felger got worse and attacked her character.
“It’s not only hurting to hear rumors about yourself that (are) not true, years later, after the rumor even came about, but also to hear someone say ‘Oh you can’t even call yourself a reporter.'”
Watney said she’s never met Felger, never seen him in the clubhouse or at Fenway Park.
“It was just really upsetting to me,” she said.
Watney told Toucher and Rich that she feels there is a “stigma” that goes with being a female covering the Red Sox and it’s “something you have to deal with.”
“NESN’s policy has been not to comment on rumors and gossip and innuendo and I agree with that, because a lot of times you just give more fodder,” she said.
“I regret, in a way, even sending that Tweet yesterday because of what it stirred up, because people that weren’t listening didn’t know what was going on and now everyone’s chiming in.”
She also clarified the story behind Carl Crawford’s “Go talk to the captain” comment and addressed Comcast’s Joe Haggerty’s comments on Twitter about her.
“I don’t understand why Joe would even say that,” Watney said.
“I don’t report rumors. I just don’t. I am not TMZ and I’m not interested in assassinating anyone’s character.”
“I don’t have a beef with anyone, I was upset that Felger brought me into all of this mudslinging,” she said. “Because it really has gotten ugly over the last couple of days here.”
One reason Felger called out the Boston media was how long it took for all the clubhouse shenanigans to come to light – specifically, pitchers drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games in the clubhouse during games.
“Nobody’s in the clubhouse during the game. How are we supposed to know who is eating fried chicken, supposedly, reportedly, and drinking beer during the game? We’re not there,” Watney said, adding that no one from the Red Sox has officially confirmed that any of that happened.
“Sometimes I feel like, in this town, if a rumor gets said enough, people just automatically believe it’s gospel.”
“I know that there were things that were going on in that clubhouse, obviously in this fallout, they have a lot of things that they need to get fixed. But I personally don’t believe attacking anyone’s character, whether its Terry Francona, Theo Epstein, Josh Beckett or John Lackey… attacking anyone’s character is not going to make this team better.”
Watney said the situation is so ugly, David Ortiz mentioned to her Wednesday it has him thinking about his future.
“(Ortiz said) ‘I’m trying not to comment right now.’ The drama is forcing him to look at whether he wants to come back to this situation or not,” she said, adding that Ortiz loves Boston and has strong ties with the city.
“It’s forcing a lot of people in the organization look at this and say ‘What is going on? Why is this town, why are the media, the fans everyone, attacking their own?’ I know people want answers; it was an epic collapse, it was ugly. But I don’t think attacking people’s character is going to help anything.”
Listen to the entire interview here: