Radio host walks back "insensitive" comments about Roy Halladay's death

BOSTON -- On Wednesday, popular Boston radio host Michael Felger generated controversy with his comments about the death of former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay.

Halladay died Tuesday when his small plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico off Tampa, Florida.

Felger called Halladay a "moron" and pointed to video a witness shot shortly before the crash that showed Halladay making dangerous dives toward the water.

"Wee, oh, woo, look I just landed on the water, everybody. I'm gonna tweet it. Splat. You're dead, with two kids. Moron," Felger said Wednesday afternoon.

A day later, to open the "Felger and Mazz" talk show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Felger addressed the situation, according to CBS Boston.

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Michael Felger

CBS Boston

"In a nutshell I would say that I feel bad about what happened on a lot of levels. I feel bad about what I said and how I conducted myself. To say it was over the top and insensitive is really stating the obvious. It was obviously those things," Felger said to start the show.

"I could come in and say 'I apologize if I offended anyone,' but that's fake and hollow and everyone hates that, don't you? Isn't that the worst, when someone comes in and says that?" he continued. "Besides the only folks that I would really want to extend that to are the loved ones of Halladay. They're the ones dealing with enough right now not to have to have me come over the top and do what I did yesterday. So, sorry doesn't do that justice as it relates to them. That one's going to stick with me for a while, as it relates to them."

Felger also apologized to his coworkers for having to "answer for my poor judgment" over the past 24 hours. 

You can watch Felger's comments in the video below:

Felger also backed away from inflammatory comments he made about the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, who died in a crash in 2001. On Wednesday's show, Felger remarked of Earnhardt, "The racecar driver who died? I root for the wall. I really do. That ain't no tragedy. ... I'm supposed to feel bad for you? Give me a break," the Boston Globe reported.

"I meant part of what I said yesterday, and there were parts I didn't mean. It was just dumb hyperbole. The Earnhardt thing falls in that second category. That was just dumb hyperbole. I didn't mean that," Felger said. "There is stuff that I did mean, but the presentation and the tone and the hyperbole was just low class, bad, not good. I don't feel good about it.

"I regret my conduct yesterday. I believe what I believe, I do, but the tone and the hysterics were really uncalled for. To say 'inappropriate and over the line' is just stating the obvious, they're clearly those things and it really goes without saying," he reiterated. "I have no defense, I have no explanation. I'm not asking for any sympathy or a break or anything. ... What I've gotten, I've deserved. I've deserved what I've gotten in the last day or so."

Felger did take issue with the Deadspin headline that claimed he believed "Roy Halladay Deserved To Die." Felger clarified that he was referring to himself in a hypothetical scenario when he said those words.

"I'm talking about me there. I'm not telling you that I've been treated unfairly, because parts of that diatribe were so over the top, and the overall tonality was so bad that I deserve whatever headline I get. But just so you know, that's where the 'Roy Halladay deserves to die' line came from. I was referring to me with that line," Felger said. "Now there are maybe 20 other lines in that rant that you could pick out and make a bad headline out of and you could put in quotes, and I would feel bad about those, too. But since that's the one that's at the front of everyone's mind and everyone's lips, I just thought I'd play that little piece for you. It's up to you whether you [believe]. I'm telling you I was talking about me, not him. But again, that's up to you. … If you don't buy that, that's up to you. You can believe what you want to believe. The rest of it was inappropriate enough where you don't have to give me the benefit of the doubt."

Many people called for Felger to be disciplined, including former Red Sox fan-favorite Kevin Youkilis, who said, "Michael Felger has and will always be a low-life behind the microphone!!!"

New York Times culture writer Sopan Deb tweeted, "It really doesn't get much lower than what Mike Felger had to say about Roy Halladay's death. Just awful."