Why Pro Wrestling and many more HATE Phil Mushnick



When I first started this project, one conscious decision that I have always maintained is “facts drive the story” and try not to sensationalize matters, regardless when writing an historical event locally, nationally, or internationally. Traditionally, such ideals makes perfect sense when every journalist follows the ethical principles, same cannot be said when operating a tabloid newspaper or news media, certain ethical standards gets jettisoned and all hell breaks loose. In my 34 years of residency in the United States, one journalist above all else would earn an ire from almost every institution, regardless how big or small it may have been, and I must have heard about this individual’s name for at least 25 years. Known for his scathing commentary and columns that are critical of a particular person, his career at one of three biggest newspaper in New York can be considered as a controversial figure, for better or worse with his unapologetic remarks while covering some of the biggest sporting franchises. The likes of Stephen A. Smith, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, the late Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, the late Don Imus, Jay-Z, and even Vince McMahon were in his crosshairs at one point or another. So who is this monstrous egomaniac am I referring to? This is the life and career, as of this writing, of one Phil Mushnick (no relations to professional wrestling promoter Sam Mushnick, at least I do not believe they are related).

In order to comprehend how scathing (at times, vitriolic) Phil Mushnick is capable of, let’s have a brief look at who he is through the limited source I could find. While his Wikipedia profile only mentions that he graduated from what is now Waynesburg University (then called Waynesburg College) in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania with an English degree, I would assume he was born either late 1940s or early 1950s, whichever comes first. Initially hired as a copy boy for the New York Post in October 1973, before he was promoted as a writer, which later became a beat reporter for the original New York Cosmos, then-New Jersey Nets, and last the New York Rangers prior to 1982. However, one incident in the locker room at the Madison Square Garden led him to quit as a beat reporter and instead became the Post’s television and radio columnist in 1982. This was the beginning of becoming a “roving moralist” and “self-appointed watchdog,” such running theme had an unintended consequence upon being called out by his critics, and Mushnick has been equally unapologetic for his criticisms to them, to the point that he and former President of the United States, Donald Trump, share one thing in common: double or triple down on opinions that they are in the right even if they are dead wrong. Yet, the likes of New York Post, or those who blindly share his views firmly believe in their falsehoods with no recourses to correct them. In the examples below, anyone with any sorts of common sense could have figured out how off and wrong Mushnick’s opinion have been, still is, and perhaps not eternally will be.

The first example occurred on an episode of Mike and the Mad Dog from September 12, 2001, a day after 9/11, Mike Francesca and co-host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo argued with an American citizen caller about his loyalty to Israel taking precedence over his loyalty to the United States, yet “Uncle” Phil opted to call the show and hosts as “Jew-bashing trainwreck” and claimed that “All Jewish Americans should take a loyalty oath to the United States.” Although Francesca has denied ever making such comments, Mushnick doubled or even triple down with his criticism on the show, not even when a writer from Deadspin carefully listened to the episode if he could have picked up what “Uncle” Phil claimed, but found nothing to the sort. This public battle continues to this day, including one from 2022 that Mushnick called Francesca a “egotistical condescending know-it-all.” For the record, to criticize Mike Francesca with such claim may be a bit much, considering that he has been on radio and television almost as long, if not longer, than Mushnick ever was, and he spoke like someone who knows a lot of sports knowledge, unlike Mushnick, who I sincerely doubt that he could withstood any criticisms directly towards him for getting quotes from athletes in his days beyond recognition.

In relations to ESPN, Mushnick took aim at at least two more on-air personalities. Chris Berman, the current host of NFL Primetime, well known for his various catchphrases and quickly demeanor, was a target in three of the former’s articles in the Post by calling his “clown act” as forced, self-serving and stale. The other target was on Stephen A. Smith, the current co-host and main debater on First Take, with an overtly racist tones (something I’ve read by rather not repeating it, which is another way of saying, “please read the quote yourself on Wikipedia.”) that was rather doozy. This windbag also whined about not covering the Arena Football League until they had the broadcast rights, the ESPYs as “pathetic” self-promotions despite there wasn’t much of a sports award shows of any kind (unless you count the Ballon d’Or from FIFA). In relations to sports, specifically on NBA and MLB, his paltry views on Ronald Acuna, outfielder for the Atlanta Braves by blasting him for “being selfish after a home run trot on a ball that would end up hitting the wall” and calling him as “doing his part in ruining baseball” drew widespread criticism from members of baseball media and baseball world, particularly when the sport is suffering from not many players “having fun” playing the game.

And finally, we must talk about his ongoing hatred towards the entire profession wrestling industry, which even I have a major issue “Uncle” Phil. First, Mushnick’s knowledge is way less than even mine, to the point that his singular finger-pointing on Vince McMahon for every wrestler’s death, regardless if the majority of the deaths occurred outside of WWE’s scope by a country mile, let alone out of the promotion’s control, to the point that he wants all wrestling promotions seize to exist (talk about hatred on a level of Martha Hart, another individual who has a sick ill-will towards WWE since her husband’s unfortunate death in May 1999.) On one occasion, when Mushnick cited provided statistics to prove that pro-wrestling should die and blame all wrestlers’ deaths to McMahon and him alone. On an episode of October 13, 1997, WWE writer, longtime friend and wrestling historian Jim Cornett took exception Mushnick’s article and opinion about his wrestling hatred, which includes myself and any and all pro-wrestling fans at-large. How long has “Uncle” Phil been making such vitriolic claims? Apparently, he’s been at it for quite some time, even if he had to do it all by himself. While admittedly that the sports entertainment industry needs to change in how to conduct their businesses, the opinions of Mushnick have gone way too far, to the point that it’s no wonder why all of those individuals above and all wrestling fans don’t give a crap about what he thinks.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the likes of Draymond Green, Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper (Chancelor Bennett), former Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, legendary Yankees radio broadcaster John Sterling, former Golden States Warriors Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, have also drew his ires in one point or another. In defense of him, for once, however, though in a lesser extent, might I add, was on some of the antics from the late Don Imus, host of Imus in the Morning, this was the first and perhaps the only time I could somewhat defend him as some of Imus’ remarks were as cynical and racist; however, at least Imus made a lot of apologies, unlike Mushnick, who keeps doubling or even tripling down on his critics left, right, and center. In summary, if “Uncle” Phil has the audacity to openly criticize me for no apparent reason other than some misplaced bias towards me, I will repay him in kind, and I dare him to even try to sue me for something I didn’t do at all.


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