Broadcaster under fire for saying Halladay got what he deserved

Everything that’s wrong with bro-talk radio can pretty much be summed up with a Boston sportscaster’s rant against Roy Halladay on the day after Halladay — about as decent a person as ever existed — crashed his plane into the Gulf of Mexico and died.

There’s certainly some criticism to make about Halladay the pilot; humans make mistakes.

But Michael Felger went far over the line on his radio diatribe in which he said Halladay got what he deserved.

“It just sort of angers me,” Felger said. “You care that little about your life? Or about the life of your family? Your little joyride is that important to you? . . . With your hand out the window: ‘Weeee! Weeee! Yeah, man, look at the G-force on this! I’m Maverick, pyew pyew! Yeah, man, look at this, this is so cool!’ And you die. Splat. And it’s over. So you’re that guy? You have to do that?

Nobody stepped in to stop him.

He also celebrated the death of Dale Earnhardt.

“Was it Dale Earnhardt who died? The race car driver who died? I root for the wall. I really do. That ain’t no tragedy,” he said.

The tirade has sparked calls for his radio station to fire Felger.

It probably won’t.

[Update 2:32 p.m.] The broadcaster “apologized” at the beginning of his show on Thursday.

“In a nutshell I would say that I feel bad about what happened on a lot of levels. I feel bad about what I said and how I conducted myself. To say it was over the top and insensitive is really stating the obvious. It was obviously those things.”

“I could come in and say ‘I apologize if I offended anyone,’ but that’s fake and hollow and everyone hates that, don’t you? Isn’t that the worst, when someone comes in and says that? Besides the only folks that I would really want to extend that to are the loved ones of Halladay. They’re the ones dealing with enough right now not to have to have me come over the top and do what I did yesterday. So, sorry doesn’t do that justice as it relates to them. That one’s going to stick with me for a while, as it relates to them.”

“I meant part of what I said yesterday, and there were parts I didn’t mean. It was just dumb hyperbole. The Earnhardt thing falls in that second category. That was just dumb hyperbole. I didn’t mean that. There is stuff that I did mean, but the presentation and the tone and the hyperbole was just low class, bad, not good. I don’t feel good about it.

“I regret my conduct yesterday. I believe what I believe, I do, but the tone and the hysterics were really uncalled for. To say ‘inappropriate and over the line’ is just stating the obvious, they’re clearly those things and it really goes without saying. I have no defense, I have no explanation. I’m not asking for any sympathy or a break or anything. … What I’ve gotten, I’ve deserved. I’ve deserved what I’ve gotten in the last day or so.”

  • Jay T. Berken

    What does this guy think of Lewis and Clark, Wright Brothers and John Glen? Everything starts as a “thrill” to move humans forward in territory, aviation and etc. Now if he wants to debate about what is good for the overall being of human advancement, I understand. But his last segment of rant about thrill seekers not deserving their due is weak.

    • “He wasn’t militarily trained” etc. Unfortunately, this is the sort of ignorance about general aviation you get from people who don’t understand it and haven’t bothered to try to learn about it. Without question, the #1 complaint I get from pilots is the portrayal of general aviation and pilots .

      It’s true the “recreational pilot” category of pilot certification requires less flight time to solo (30 hours vs. 40) but a person doesn’t get a certificate until demonstrating mastery not only to a certified flight instructor, but also to an FAA examiner. It’s a MINIMUM number of hours before you can even try, and quite often students require more hours than the minimum.

      https://www.aopa.org/training-and-safety/learn-to-fly/is-the-recreational-pilot-certificate-for-you

      I’m not aware however, that Halladay had a recreational license (which comes with more restrictions).

      This guy’s problem isn’t limited to how Halladay chose to fly the other day; it’s that he flew at ALL.

      I would point out that Scott Crossfield also made a bad decision and paid for it with his life a few years ago.

      Yeah, THAT Scott Crossfield.

      As for this broadcaster, gosh, how much do you have to hate yourself to celebrate another person’s death?

      • Postal Customer

        It’s not really about hating himself. It could be this:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

        • Yeah, maybe. Seems odd that someone would consider flying an airplane to be an “evil”. And I suppose if you ‘re glad Dale Earnhardt died, you’re rooting for every other NASCAR racer to die too. That’s messed up in my universe.

  • jon

    Humans are bad at risk analysis.

    It’s why we have pilot error airplane crashes, and it’s why we have people saying folks got what they deserve.

    We like to think that the risks that we take are safe, and the risks others take are riskier somehow…

    • Actually, I think people who fly airplanes are very good at risk analysis. It’s why we have so few plane crashes.

      The problem is there are humans at the controls and some people make mistakes, and are usually the first of the scene of a crash.

      The old saying is, ‘There are old pilots. And there are bold pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots”

      BTW, I’ll be anxious to see the NTSB preliminary report because one story I read today referred to Halladay getting his license in ’16 and having “hundreds of hours” of flight time. That’s pretty much impossible.

      • jon

        I ended up cutting it out, but I did originally try to draw a comparison to motorcycles. (odds of fatality are similar from private planes to riding a motorcycle on the street)

        But since you brought the saying, the same is said about motorcyclists…
        “Old riders, and bold riders, no old bold riders.”

        Like motorcyclists, I think some pilots are good at risk analysis, and I think some motorcyclists are good at it…

        But there is a segment of both groups who are not… and they are the ones who take risks others wouldn’t… riding without a helmet, flying low over a river, not inspecting the vehicle before a trip… and they are frequently the ones who end up in the casualty count…

      • wjc

        Out of curiosity, why would it be pretty much impossible to get a license in ’16 and have “hundreds of hours of flight time”?

        • Because your flight time is only the time that’s in the air and “hundreds of hours ” is a TON for general aviation pilot, especially if he only had a recreational pilot certificate because you can only fly (a) in the daytime (b) in good weather and (c) within 50 miles of your home airport.

          It’s not impossible to do. but if it’s true he only got a license in ’16, I just don’t see it. But, maybe. The NTSB will have his logbook and will reveal it in due course.

  • MikeB

    When a few advertisers object, then they’ll be gone. Can’t say that good taste is the deciding factor.