Mike Valenti: Lions a 'petty, juvenile, nasty organization'
Here is a transcript of Mike Valenti's response on Friday's "Valenti & Foster" show to address his role in the Lions' departure from 97.1 FM to WJR.
"The Lions will no longer be on this station headed into next season and it has been put out there that I am the centerpiece and the reason why. OK. Cool. Detnews, the Freep, everyone is reporting on it. I'm here to tell you it's absolutely true, 100 percent. ... I read (Lions senior vice president of marketing and corporate sponsorships) Elizabeth Parkinson's comments in both newspapers today that the Lions simply made a business decision and I am going to go ahead and completely disagree with that.
"This was very personal, because what you guys the listeners don't know is this has always been personal. If this was the first time my name had come up about getting rid of me then maybe I'd be jarred by it. I'm used to this. My station ironically enough made a business decision. ... because this show was more important than the Lions. That's business.
"Why would it be personal and why would they want me fired? Here is the problem with your football team here. They care more with what (co-host) Terry (Foster) and I say here than they do about the product on the field. You don't believe me?
"Years ago, Bill Keenist who is head of public relations and who is arguably the worst possible person you could put in that job, would try to get ahold of me on a segment by segment basis during my show. You know why Bill doesn't like me? You know why the Lions don't like me? Because I don't have time for his phone calls. I don't take his phone calls. If somehow he had the ability to get through to me, I'd hang up on him.
"This is an organization that because of the things I say, and the way we do business, this is an organization that has gotten me off television. This is an organization that has basically kept me off the air on Sunday from doing an NFL for you, from doing a show I want to do: a Sunday morning NFL show where we talk about your league and we talk about your Lions. They've barred that because they don't like the things I say. They have systematically made our lives miserable at this station.
"You want to know why the general manager of your team has never appeared on this radio show in 11 years? You want to know why we are forced to do these training camp shows ... you want to know why I don't want to do them? This team has never been interested in helping us. Just this summer, go ahead, want (Lions running back) Ameer Abdullah, don't get him. Oddly enough, he's on the weekend show the day after. This is a petty, juvenile, nasty organization.
Mobile users, listen here: Valenti calls Lions a "petty, juvenile organization"
"They don't like me because I don't fear them. I don't care about them. I will not be sucked into being friends with them. I don't care about your players. I don't care about your management. I don't care about any of you. Play the games. Win games. I say nice things. Play the games. Lose games. I say mean things. That's it. Now it's very simple.
"I don't think there's anybody around here is crying because this football team is not here anymore. Good. Enjoy yourself.
"To me there is nothing to run from. It's absolutely true. The Lions aren't here because of me. That's that.
"There's people in that organization who are bad people. There are people in that organization who shouldn't be there. This organization should be more concerned about entertaining you the fans than anything that people like Terry and I have to say. See that's the problem. When you break it down and you're honest with each other, this is what and who the Lions are. I believe the line in The News article was "tin eared," if I'm not mistaken, and it is correct. All of the phone calls, all of the harassment.
Mobile users, listen here: Valenti reacts to the Lions leaving WXYT
"I remember last year when they played the Dolphins and your field goal unit couldn't make a field goal to save their life. Back when I was on Twitter, I tweeted out 'worse field-goal unit in the league' and my boss had to sit out there in the driveway getting yelled at by Bill Keenist. This is what they are worried about, not that they couldn't make a field goal, but because Mike said something inappropriate.
"If you want me to own it, I'll own it. It's my fault primarily the Lions aren't here. Cool. Fine by me. This is an organization that has tried to go after me for a decade and, all the while, has not won a division, hasn't won a playoff game, hasn't earned my respect. So, why should I care about theirs and, in short, I don't.
"The question becomes: What do you think about all of this today? You the people. Clearly the stuff in The Freep, in The News is blowing up. People are really getting after it.
"Here's what I will tell you. When teams get into the business of trying to leverage people, get people out, I've kind of got a problem with it. You don't like what we say, play better. It's simple. No one is running away or acting as if I haven't said things that were inappropriate in the past. I have and have owned those decisions, and damned near paid for it with my job in '09. But I own it. I screwed up. I made apologies to those who would actually take the phone call.
Mobile users, listen here: Valenti on the Lions departure
"The problem with this organization is the pettiness. 'Oh, you don't like the suit I wore on TV because I picked the Saints to beat you in the playoff game.' Yep, this organization and high-ranking officials had screaming matches in this building over that, over a suit, over the fact I said you wouldn't win a game. This is your organization. These are your people. To me, I don't think we look bad in any of this.
"If the Lions want to take their ball and go home, go. You want to go to a station whose audience is 80 and up, go, because you leaving because you don't like me, you just look stupid. We'll continue to do exactly what we do.