William C. Rhoden said Chris Russo was “feeding into a white supremacist ideology” when the radio host claimed “there’s bad on all sides of the coin” regarding the recent protests in Portland.
Russo had Rhoden, the longtime New York Times sports columnist who now writes for The Undefeated, on his SiriusXM show last Friday when their conversation about NBA players striking games in support of racial equality and social justice grew contested.
Russo cited “60 days of riots in Portland” and asked Rhoden if it was “all because of white supremacists?” Rhoden threw the question back at Russo.
“I think it’s a combination of a lot of factors,” Russo said. “I think there’s bad on all sides of the coin.”
“That’s just what your president said when a neo-Nazi and a confederate ran down people. He said just what you said — there are good people on both sides,” Rhoden said. “Do you believe that, Chris? Do you hear what you’re saying? You can’t be on the air, spouting the kind of stuff you’re spouting, feeding into a white supremacist ideology.”
“Bill, how dare you,” Russo said, cutting Rhoden off. “You’re calling me a white supremacist now? Is that what you’re calling me?”
“I’m saying you’re feeding into a white supremacist ideology,” Rhoden said.
Russo defended himself by pointing to his 40 years on the air, much of which came on WFAN.
“What I’m doing is I’m doing a talk show and trying to play it right down the middle,” Russo said. “That’s what a good talk show host does, he plays it down the middle.”
Russo then asked Rhoden if he thought he was a racist.
“Uh, yeah, I think that you …,” Rhoden said with a chuckle before trailing off. “What do you think, do you think you’re racist?”
“No I don’t,” Russo said. “No I don’t.”
They later found common ground and ended the interview amicably, according to @BackAftaThis.
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