Blue Jays in flap over suspended broadcaster
The Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America is backing Blue Jays radio broadcaster Mike Wilner, who was told to take the weekend off following a tense exchange with team manager Cito Gaston.
In a letter sent to Blue Jays president Paul Beeston and FAN 590 program director Don Kollins, chapter chairman Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star wrote: "The baseball writers association would like to officially voice its support of the right of Mr. Wilner or any other reporter to ask challenging questions."
"The concern of the BBWAA is that this amounts to an attempt to either censor or intimidate the media coverage that the Jays receive on a daily basis in all four newspapers and the wire services."
Gaston didn't like a line of questioning about his bullpen management from Wilner during Wednesday's pre-game scrum with media.
Wilner later wrote in his blog that he felt he was being "belittled" by the Gaston. A day later he was told to stay home during the weekend series with the New York Yankees.
Both the Blue Jays and the FAN are owned by Rogers Communications Inc.
Asked via email to explain Wilner's absence from the broadcast, Kollins replied: "As a matter of policy we don't comment on rumours regarding Rogers employees. Sorry."
Paul Beeston, the Jays president and CEO told the Toronto Sun on the weekend. "If they did [suspend him], I didn’t have anything to do with it."
The Jays return to action Tuesday in Tampa Bay.