A veteran beat reporter who’s covered the Buffalo Bills for years is facing intense backlash for his disparaging comment about female fans during a guest appearance on Trainwreck Sports’ live podcast on Monday, December 12.
(Now-former) WIVB Channel 4 reporter and Niagara Gazette contributor Jerry Sullivan, joined Zach Sheldon and Alex Shupe on the Buffalo-based show, “Trainwreck Tonight,” and is facing intense backlash on Twitter for his sexist rant.
After hearing a critical comment from a fan named Amy on episode 273, Sullivan put his drink down and said, “Women. Be better than this because the worst fans are really the women. They don’t get critical journalism. They’re all wannabe cheerleaders, you know what I mean? It’s a dangerous avenue to go down to criticize women in general, because they’re better the men, generally. But as a fan, they don’t get it as fans.”
While the co-hosts move quickly to highlight his final statement, “Please reiterate what you just said — Generally, women are better than men! That’s just a fact,” before moving on to the next topic, video of the clip quickly went viral on Twitter, which prompted the show to put out an apology statement.
Trainwreck Sports tweeted on Tuesday morning, “Last night on Trainwreck Tonight 273, comments were made by a guest. Our team does not condone them, the comments, or the sentiment in any way, shape, or form. Empowering women doesn’t come down to making statements like this — it comes down to standing up for them when they are done wrong, and last night they were. Our community is great because of everyone that encompasses it.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Greater Niagra Newspaper, who runs the Niagara Gazette, announced they made the decision to “part ways” with Sullivan. The outlet wrote, “We do not condone misogynistic, insensitive, or derogatory comments in any form. We thank Jerry for his efforts and content during his with the company. GNN Sports will remain committed to providing readership with accurate, fair, and quality stories.”
The Buffalo News announced that WIVB (Channel 4) has also fired Sullivan. Reporter Alan Pergament wrote, “According to a source, Sullivan was fired Tuesday afternoon, but Channel 4’s owner, Nexstar, has no plans to announce it. As of Tuesday afternoon, Sullivan was no longer listed on the station’s website.”
Sullivan Apologized Following Intense Backlash on Twitter
The Bills have arguably one of the most passionate fan bases in the NFL and not only did the team’s fans call out Sullivan on Twitter, but his fellow beat reporters.
Syracuse.com‘s Matt Parrino tweeted on Tuesday, December 13, “Some of the most thought-provoking interactions I’ve had on this beat have been w/ Bills fans who are women. I’m grateful for you all. My daughter looks up to my wife, who’s as critical of this team as any fan. What Jerry said was wrong, indefensible & hurtful. Women belong.”
WGRZ sports anchor Julianne Pelusi tweeted, “As much as I’d like to add more commentary to the Bills reportedly bringing back Cole Beasley, I am simply a cheerleader and don’t understand critical journalism!” while Bills Mafia Babes founder Kristen Kimmick wrote, “Good morning to everyone except Jerry Sullivan ☀️.”
One female Buffalo fan tweeted, “Imagine the absolute horror on Jerry Sullivan’s face when somebody finally tells him we also understand hockey,” while Circling the Wagons podcast wrote, “I’m a Bills fan BECAUSE of my mother. She is not a cheerleader only. She is sometimes their harshest critic. F**k Jerry Sullivan and his softness for criticism from the opposite sex.”
One man tweeted, “Sullivan is overdue to be put in his proper place; unemployed and irrelevant. He’s been living off his ‘bad guy/negative takes’ for far too long. His comments on that video are disgusting, sexist, misogynistic, and very telling to who he is as a person. He needs to be fired.”
Before Sullivan commented on the backlash. PR News reporter Nicole Schuman tweeted, “From a crisis/reputation standpoint Jerry Sullivan needs to respond and fast. He’s already waited too long. In addition to response, he should follow with action, such as a donation to @girlswritenow or @womenjournos or just set up a live Twitter cast on here with women.”
At 2:08 p.m. ET, Sullivan issued an apology. He tweeted, “I’d like to apologize for comments I made on a podcast last night that were uncalled for and insulting to women. I should be better than that.”
Sullivan’s Critical Comments About the Bills Have Caused a Stir on Twitter
If Sullivan’s name sounds familiar, it’s because his comment to Bills quarterback Josh Allen following Buffalo’s win over the New York Jets on Sunday, December 11 also went viral. The Bills’ 20-12 victory was not pretty, and Allen knew it. The Jets’ defense kept Allen to just 147 passing yards, a new season low, and his No. 1 wide receiver, Stefon Diggs, caught just three passes for 37 yards, season-lows for him, too.
“We’re just trying to win games no matter how it happens,” Allen said during the postgame press conference, which prompted Sullivan to say, “It doesn’t look like an offense that’s good enough to win a Super Bowl right now.”
“Okay,” Allen said in response. And that was it.
Based on Allen’s body language, and the tone of his voice, it appeared that the 26-year-old superstar was having a very different response internally, but kept it inside. A video of the interaction quickly went viral on Twitter as fans and analysts had strongly mixed reactions to Sullivan’s statement. While several people noted that Sullivan wasn’t wrong, others slammed his tact.
In December of last year, Sullivan’s comments following the Bills’ 14-10 loss to the New England Patriots got safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer riled up. New England’s quarterback Mac Jones only threw the ball three times, which Sullivan noted was fewer passing attempts than any franchise in more than 40 years. Sullivan then asked if it was “embarrassing” to lose a game in such a manner.
Poyer looked annoyed, “What kind of question is that?” before exiting the platform, but Hyde couldn’t leave without giving Sullivan a piece of mind.
“What are you doing, bro?” Hyde said. “Keep at it… We’ll remember that. I’ll remember that.”