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Mike Francesa's relationship with James Dolan and the state of his future generate controversy.

By Jimmy Traina
October 23, 2018

1. What a day for New York City sports media drama on Monday.

Things started with a James Dolan vs. Maggie Gray war that then became about Mike Francesa being caught in a lie and threatening to quit either his WFAN radio show or his $8.99-a-month app. 

Right off the bat, let me say that Maggie Gray worked at SI.com for many years, we're friends and she was one of the best colleagues I've ever had.

Maggie was in the spotlight early Monday when it was revealed that MSG CEO and one of the most hated people in all of New York, James Dolan, has waged a war against her and Entercom, which owns WFAN radio in New York, where she currently co-hosts a show from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday.

Dolan was upset that Gray called him several names—"vile piece of trash," "hypocrite"—during a rant in August after Dolan released some dopey song about Harvey Weinstein. 

So Madison Square Garden's reaction to Gray's name calling was to ban anyone associated with the Knicks and Rangers from appearing on WFAN. The move is downright comical because it won't have any impact whatsoever on ratings or business for WFAN. The station can survive just fine without its host ever interviewing players or coaches from either team, so the "punishment" is completely useless and just makes Dolan—as always—look like a buffoon.

The story went to another level later in the afternoon, though, when Mike Francesa, who retired for four months and then came back to WFAN to launch an app (according to him), took Gray to task for getting personal with Dolan, saying Maggie's takes on Dolan were "over the top." Francesa also intimated that Gray went on the rant to gain attention for her show, while pontificating on how great a person Dolan is.

Francesa did bash the Garden for not accepting Gray's apology and moving on and he spent several minutes talking about how shortsighted it was for MSG to continue the fight against Entercom.

However, there was one big problem with Francesa's monologue. In defending Dolan as a person, he stated that he knows Dolan well because they are friends. Of course, thanks to this thing called the Internet, it wasn't long before Mike was caught in a lie about his relationship with Dolan. It seems not too long ago, Mike said he never associated with Dolan. Uh oh.

As if all this wasn't enough, Francesa ended his segment on all this by dropping a bombshell, saying that he may soon give up either his radio show or his expensive app.

"Maybe coming back was, I knew it was gonna be uncomfortable, maybe it was more uncomfortable than I thought," he said. "It probably has been." He continued, "We haven't even come to a deal yet, which makes me think maybe the app and the show don't work together and that's something we're gonna have to adjust one way or the other."

WHOA! Just a couple of weeks ago, Mike was lecturing everyone on just how great the app was doing, even though he said he isn't allowed to release subscriber numbers even though many companies, such as Netflix and SiriusXM, release subscriber numbers.

Now Mike says the show and app don't work together. Naturally, many people took Mike's comment to mean that the app would go away eventually. But the Pope was not happy with that interpretation.

Again, Mike's quote was "maybe the app and the show don't work together and that's something we're gonna have to adjust." 

It's almost as if he says something but then doesn't want you to believe he said it even though there's a record of him saying it.

Hmm, could a presidential run be in Mike's future?

The truth is, this is Mike's way of admitting it wasn't a great idea to charge $9 a month for the video version of his radio show. He will never ever admit that, but that's really what he's doing. Yes, Mike does a Sunday morning show that's exclusive to the app, but nobody is paying $9 a month for one original show a week. The price point was a problem from the beginning. Everyone knew it except Mike. 

Now he's started the process of undoing the mess. How it ends will be very interesting. 

New York Post sports media columnist, Andrew Marchand, who has been all over these stories, joined me on the latest SI Media Podcast to discuss the Francesa-app controversy at the 40-minute mark.

2. I don't have anything profound to say about Roman Reigns's shocking announcment last night that the leukemia he battled 11 years ago has returned other than I hope he makes a full recovery as soon as humanly possible. If you read Traina Thoughts regularly, you know I'm a big fan of Roman. I've interviewed him several times over the years and he's always been one of the nicest and easiest guys to deal with whether the mic is on or off and I've always enjoyed our conversations. He appeared on the SI Media Podcat in April and showed his sense of humor by busting on me for getting his age completely wrong. You can listen to the Reigns interview below beginning at the 38-minute mark.

Here's how WWE superstars reacted to Reigns's promo after he returned backstage last night.

3. With the World Series kicking off Tuesday night on FOX, I wrote a piece about the tired and played out hate that Joe Buck will inevitably receive on social media.

4. Here's the stupidest controversy of the day. There was a report that Derek Carr is not respected by teammates because he supposedly cried after getting injured. Carr, though, is having none of it.

5. Gregg Popovich is the best.

6. This seems a tad extreme.

7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: This is a very funny and creative way to tackle a serious topic.

Traina Thoughts is the best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts right here.And make sure to listen to and subscribe to the SI Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina.

IN CLOSING: I will go more in-depth about this soon, but the Monday Night Football telecast is just about unwatchable. The latest broadcast was a complete train wreck.

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