ESPN reporter Marly Rivera has been fired after calling a fellow reporter a “fucking cunt,” while, for lack of a better word, on the clock.
As is per the usual in today’s outrage climate, social media was immediately ablaze with takes such as “white men say worse all the time and don’t get in trouble,” and also with people celebrating her dismissal because, well, some people are pieces of shit who revel in the misfortune of others.
What if I told you there is a middle ground? In fact, there’s really only one ground. If any of us, regardless of what our job is, called someone a “fucking cunt” whilst at our job and representing our company, the prevailing likelihood is that we would be fired. No muss, no fuss, no social media outrage. Just, “you called someone what, exactly? Yeah, you’re gone. Can’t do that.”
The last 27 seconds of Marly Rivera’s career lmfao pic.twitter.com/IIfb22CNjQ
— Emily Nyman (@EmSheDoesIt) April 27, 2023
Never mind that the fellow reporter Rivera called a fucking cunt is married to MLB’s Vice President of Communications, John Blundell, which absolutely, positively, 100% played a role. You can’t do it.
Rivera, made the double-sided statement on her own behalf that she “fully accepts responsibility,” but also that “there were extenuating circumstances,” which is, of course, hogwash. You either take responsibility or you don’t.
Let’s also address the other elephant in the room. Yes, it has absolutely been harder for women and people of color to get a job in professional sports media, let alone a woman of color. Is that wrong? 100%. Discrimination needs to be eliminated in it’s entirety. That too comes with it’s own other side that nobody wants to to acknowledge.
If we are going to preach 100% equality, then we also need to accept that with it comes 100% responsibility. To imply that Rivera should get cut slack here because she’s a woman of color is antithetical to the notion of equality. Not to make apples to asparagus comparisons here, but what if it had been Rivera who uttered derogatory homophobic slurs on a hot mic instead of Thom Brenneman? Would any punishment resulting from that also be because she’s a woman of color?
This should be a learning experience for Rivera, as these types of things should be for anyone who as ever said something stupid at work and suffered the consequences. Or even those who have gotten away with it. You can’t say things like this in the course of your employment, even if the target of your ire may deserve it, and expect to keep your job.
ESPN did the correct thing by firing Rivera. That said, I do hope she gets another crack at a job in baseball. Second chances are a thing, after all.