Dan Sileo no longer at WDAE
Dan Sileo, whose controversial remarks made him a lightning rod as morning host on WDAE 620-AM, finally said something that cost him his job. One day after referring to three African-American football players on the air as "monkeys,'' Sileo is no longer employed by WDAE.
While he would not use the word "fired,'' WDAE program director Steve Versnick did confirm Tuesday that, "Dan Sileo is no longer with WDAE. We wish him the best.''
Versnick had no other comment. Sileo did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Sileo's controversial remark came Monday when Sileo was talking about the possibility of three free agents -- Cortland Finnegan, Vincent Jackson and Jonathan Vilma, all of whom are African-American -- joining the Bucs. Sileo, who is white, said, "If they got those three monkeys, I'm good. I'm ready, man. I'm ready. I want those guys. Those guys are great players.''
At first, it appeared as if Sileo would not be punished. Late Monday night, WDAE issued a statement apologizing for Sileo's remark and saying, "He absolutely meant no disrespect to the players and he is sincerely embarrassed and upset that his off-the-cuff remarks might be taken as hateful, disrespectful, or in any way racist.''
In a Twitter message to Times' media critic Eric Deggans, Sileo wrote it was a slip of the tongue, saying, "I didn't even realize I said it 'til someone told me.''
Sileo hosted his 6 to 9 a.m. show as usual on Tuesday. Monday’s remarks were not brought up by Sileo or any on-air callers. But by Tuesday afternoon, Sileo was out. While Versnick would not say Sileo was "fired,'' it's hard to imagine Sileo decided to leave a station where he has been since 1998.
Sileo's departure marks the end of lengthy, but occasionally controversial tenure. His most infamous moment came in October of 2009 when he was suspended for a week following comments he made about the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs. Sileo reported that the Glazers were considering selling the Bucs because they had lost more than $400-million in Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme. Clear Channel, which owns WDAE, posted a retraction of Sileo's report on the WDAE Web site, apologized and called the report "factually incorrect.''
Sileo, 49, played football at the University of Miami and was on the Bucs roster for a brief spell during the 1987 NFL season.
Versnick said the search for a new morning host is underway. Rock Riley will host the 6 to 9 a.m. show on Wednesday.