Published on Monday, 30 April 2012 14:47
Yesterday, Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Joe Cowley was a passenger on an airplane that was being delayed. He spent his time waiting for the flight to take off by posting up a handful of terribly sexist comments (and one racist one) on his Twitter account. That lead to him getting into a sexist war of words with a female sports reporter. All that nonsense may have led to Cowley being suspended from the Sun-Times today.
Cowley, who, like Jay Mariotti before him, enjoys being purposely controversial in his columns and even more so on his Twitter account. His "act" is often like that of a wrestling villain, saying things that will get the crowd to boo at him and then laughing at it. His attempts at being "edgy" and doing his "act" on Twitter this weekend may have went too far. After complaining about his flight being delayed, he went on a rant about the lack of "hot" flight attendants, claiming the airlines are hiring "Squatchs." ("Squatch" is a slang term for the mythical Sasquatch or Bigfoot, and also the name of the hairy mascot for the former Seattle Supersonics.) He then went on to complain about having a "chick pilot" and that the Asian child sitting next to him in First Class looked like "Short Round." ("Short Round" was the name of a young boy character in the 1984 movie "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" played by Jonathan Ke Quan. The character spoke in a stereotypical Asian broken English pattern, famous in bad movies from the 1950s.)
One of Joe Cowley's Twitter followers, Rochester, NY sports reporter Sloane Martin sarcastically tweeted back "yes I've heard female genitalia makes it impossible to properly operate such a complicated machine." That began a war of words with Cowley, where he made another "chick pilot" joke and told the attractive Ms. Martin to "hottie up" her Twitter profile picture. He also said to her "You look like the Russian icy villain from a 70s Bond movie." Adding insult to injury, he called Title IX, the 1972 women's rights amendment, a "joke."
A few hours later, Joe Cowley deleted his Twitter account, seemingly as a way to cover up the day's worth of ugly Twitter postings and the firestorm of complaints that followed. It was too late, though. The website Deadspin took screen captures of all of the tweets of Cowley's from yesterday and posted them up on line. They can all be seen on the Deadspin article at this link HERE
In addition, and at least for the time being, all of Cowley's Twitter postings, going back many months, can still be read via the Muckrack site HERE
Before deleting his Twitter account, Cowley had over 9,500 followers.
This is far from the first time Joe Cowley has made sexist remarks on Twitter. He recently tweeted to
female sports blogger Jessica Danielle "Stick to what you know - talking about athletes and their fashion sense. I'll handle the heavy lifting." Later adding the condescending remarks "Good girl. ...You can go now."
CRM has been told about past Twitter exchanges (both public & direct) where Cowley viciously slammed local female sports broadcasters, local female sports producers, and even the Chicago Bulls' Luvabulls. His use of the word "chicks" is a common one for him on Twitter.
Cowley enjoys being controversial on Twitter. One of the many nicknames he has given himself is "The Duke of Unfollow." That has to do with him purposely saying outrageous things to see how many Twitter followers he could get to drop him from their follow list. Other nicknames given to himself include "Mr. Handsome" (where the short, average-at-best looking man talks about how gorgeous he thinks women see him as), "The People's Champ" (where he claims to be the voice of the everyman), and almost inexplicably "The Lobster Thief" (something to do with a burglar who broke into White Sox GM Kenny Williams home late last year and defrosted a lobster -- don't even try to figure it out).
It would appear that Joe Cowley can now give himself a new nickname: "Suspended Man." There has been no official comment from his employers at the Chicago Sun-Times, but a pair of inside sources are saying that Cowley is now suspended until further notice
. No end date has been specified for the suspension's length. The company may want to see if this latest controversy blows over quickly or if it lingers, becoming just too embarrassing for them and they then chose to part ways with the columnist. It should be pointed out and stressed once again that these reports of Cowley's suspension are unconfirmed
as of this writing.
Cowley's Twitter account name, @CST_Cowley, has "CST" in its name, with those letters standing for the Chicago Sun-Times. Because Cowley's Twitter "jokes" are associated with the Chicago Sun-Times, and thus an embarrassment for them, it would seem that the company's hand may have been forced to act. It is not yet known if Cowley voluntarily deleted his Twitter account yesterday or if his Sun-Times bosses ordered him to do so.
Cowley came to Chicago from Cleveland in 1998. He worked as a beat writer, covering the Chicago White Sox for the Daily Southtown. In 2006, Cowley went from the Daily Southtown to the Chicago Sun-Times (both papers shared the same owner), again covering the White Sox. In 2010, he was promoted to full-time columnist, covering all sports, not just the White Sox, even though that was a favorite subject of his to write about.
In this new featured columnist role, he somewhat filled the vacancy left by Jay Mariotti's departure two years earlier. Like Mariotti, Cowley was often times controversial on purpose to get attention. Also like Mariotti, he often angered his co-workers at the newspaper with his antics and attitude.
One former co-worker claims that Cowley had him fired, after that worker made negative remarks about Cowley on social media pages. He gave his story to the Deadspin website today at this link HERE
It seems that for a while at least, neither readers of Cowley's columns or co-workers of his will have to deal with him, assuming the indefinite suspension rumors prove correct.
In addition to his newspaper work, Joe Cowley is an occasional freelance contributor to WSCR-AM/670 The Score. If Cowley was suspended from the Sun-Times, he would most likely not be doing anything with WSCR-AM until the suspension was lifted.
UPDATE 5/1/12 8:30am: As of this morning, Joe Cowley was still working & writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, as a new column of his appeared. This may have been written and submitted before his supposed suspension occurred.
UPDATE 5/1/12 12:30pm: According to the Chicago Tribune's Robert Channick today, Sun-Times Media Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk said: "Recently, a reporter in our newsroom, Joe Cowley, made offensive comments on his Twitter account. The Chicago Sun-Times is an institution with important social responsibilities, and we expect those who represent our paper to act with the respect and sensitivity that our readers deserve. Mr. Cowley's remarks were offensive and he has been reprimanded appropriately."
UPDATE 5/1/12 9:45pm: Despite some Sun-Times Media upper management initial claims (desires?) that Cowley was suspended, he remains with the newspaper, but on a very short leash. He has been asked to stay off of social media for the foreseeable future.