James Dolan? A great guy who is going too far, according to Mike Francesa.
But the radio legend’s opinion on WFAN coworker Maggie Gray, whose show he disrupted by cutting short his retirement and who leads into Francesa’s afternoon program every weekday? The famously chauffeured passenger took the wheel of the bus and drove right over her.
Francesa launched a lengthy response to The Post Andrew Marchand’s report Monday that Dolan and MSG have ordered all their businesses across the country to ban working with Entercom, WFAN’s parent company, over Gray’s August diatribe against Dolan.
Taking to the airwaves a few hours after the report, Francesa was kind to pal Dolan, came down hard on MSG PR for blowing up a rant for which it already had received an apology, and saved his most curious and controversial criticism for Gray, who had called Dolan a “hypocrite” and “vile piece of trash” for writing a song, “I Should’ve Known,” that appeared to be about disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
“Stuff was said on the CMB show, which was over the top,” Francesa said, referring to Gray’s comments without mentioning her name. “What was bad about it was it was personal and from someone who had never met him, so that’s always risky.”
What’s also risky, Francesa said, was trying to drum up headlines, relying more on shtick than substance. Again, “Gray” never came out of his mouth.
“[Trying to gain attention] pushes other shows to try to get noticed more than they have to,” Francesa said. “Rather than organically let the show happen, you say things that are maybe going to get you attention and think that’s the way to get ahead.”
Francesa insisted Dolan previously did not even know who Gray is and said the billionaire owner of the Knicks and Rangers has an unfair bad rap because “he’s the rich guy who owns the toys.” Gray had taken a swing at that punching bag, and Dolan’s response was to institute bans on Entercom, such as disallowing Knicks and Rangers players from appearing on WFAN.
Last week, Gray offered an on-air apology for the personal shots at Dolan, though not for the content, after she had ripped the song purported to be about wistful vigilance in the #MeToo era written by a person who had been enmeshed in the Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment case.
“The fact that after [WFAN and Entercom] do apologize, the Garden acted that way tells me that whoever is giving Jim Dolan his PR advice now is making a grave error and really made a dumb mistake,” Francesa said. “If someone is gracious enough to give you an apology at any time, then you won. You got your apology.”
Instead, there is a public fight between the two organizations.
Francesa has made things significantly more awkward between himself and his WFAN teammates, and he admitted his return has not gone according to plan — even leaving the door open to leave WFAN again and focus solely on his app.
“Maybe coming back … I knew it was going to be uncomfortable, but maybe it’s been more uncomfortable than I thought. Probably has been,” Francesa said.
“We haven’t really come to a deal yet, which makes me think that maybe the app and show don’t work together and that’s something we’re going to have to adjust one way or the other. … Maybe the app and show can’t work together. And if that is, we’ll adjust.”