Matthew Stevens, formerly the Mississippi State beat guy for The (Columbus, Miss.) Commercial Dispatch, recently got back from Lafayette, La., where was covering an NCAA baseball regional. On his radio show, Stevens had some not-so-kind things to say about the host city:
"That was the worst experience I've ever had as a beat writer. I'm not going to go as far as Brian by saying that they're not people, but I don't know what they are. Because I can't understand them when they talk."
"I gave myself a goal. I'm going to go find a neighborhood in Lafayette where I would buy a house, raise a family, and would be a nice place to live. I spent 90 minutes in my car driving around Lafayette and I didn't come up with one neighborhood that I would find decent enough to stay and live."
"It's the worst place in America. It's the worst place in America...It's not America."
"I didn't have a bad meal all week, but the rest of it was an absolutely horrid experience. Horrid. It was awful. And if Obama wants to cut Louisiana from the Union tomorrow, we are better off as people."
This doesn't actually seem all that bad? At least not by the toxic, third-grade standards of sports talk radio. But folks in Cajun country got righteously pissed, and Stevens issued a series of apologies. His editor did too, in a statement to Jim Romenesko:
I certainly hate that this has happened because it's not an accurate portrayal of the city or our paper. What I was really disappointed in is his characterizing so many people in a city with such broad terms. It's not a fair assessment to make. This will be a teachable moment for Matt.
Very teachable! Today, Stevens was let go by the paper.
Stevens sounds genuinely contrite. Here's hoping that sincerity doesn't sideline his budding sports-shouting career.