Op-Ed: Why are we really outraged about Alex Reimer?

Tom Brady (Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

OPINION: By Sarah Rappaport
BU News Service

Last Thursday, WEEI sports radio host Alex Reimer called Tom Brady’s 5-year-old daughter “an annoying little pissant” while discussing the quarterback’s new “Tom vs. Time” documentary.

On Monday, Brady politely declined to continue his interview on WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” show, citing Reimer’s comments.

After overwhelmingly negative responses from fans, WEEI suspended Reimer indefinitely.

To those reading this article, I offer a disclaimer: Children should not be disparaged on any medium. Reimer’s words were inappropriate and wrong. The guy seems like a jerk.

If I were Brady, I would be mad, too. He had every right to end his interview, and I respect the cordial manner in which he did. However, this article is not a character study of either individual.

There is a reality that many Patriots fans will fail to admit. It wasn’t the nature of the insult that was the problem, but rather the parent of the kid in question.

If the comment wasn’t about Brady’s kid, Reimer would probably still have his job. No one would have cared. Hell, if this was Nick Foles’s kid, Reimer would be still be basking in his own meat-headed revelry.

The media has long been around to hold people in positions of power accountable for their actions.

Brady holds power in New England. Take a look at how many “GOAT” memes are flying around. You say the name “Brady” in this town and people salivate like dogs hearing a Pavlovian bell.

Even though Brady said that he did not wish for Reimer to lose his job, by hanging up on WEEI, he rang what could potentially be Reimer’s career death knell.

But, my problem here is not with Brady. Even I, a New England transplant, have to admit that the guy is thoroughly likable. My problem is with WEEI.

WEEI essentially chose to fire Reimer as a PR move. It was their way of saving face and appeasing the fans, who tune in to hear their pariah Brady.

The problem with suspending Reimer is that we have now opened up the floodgates in an already concerning media environment. When the media censors itself to prevent the distaste of the public, it isn’t doing its job. I wouldn’t call Reimer an admirable journalist in any sense, but he isn’t even important here.

Since when did we let the distaste or the support of public or private figures dictate the opinions we set forth in the media? Even as I’m writing this column, I am anticipating angry responses by all the Mikes, the Marks and the Will Huntings who will stumble upon this website.

This one bullheaded comment may have doomed Reimer’s career. It certainly has in this market. But a football player’s last name shouldn’t be the determining factor in deciding the outrageousness of the crime or the method of punishment.  

Yes, what Reimer said was in poor taste. Here’s the thing about opinions: not everyone likes them. That’s sort of the point. If Brady called your kid an annoying little pissant, would you petition to get him fired?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Boston University News Service.

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