Earlier this summer, I asked Warrior fans via Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms what changes with the Warriors would they like to see happen immediately. The response was overwhelming as fans from all over the globe voiced their thoughts and opinions on what needed to be changed first. One of the biggest changes fans wanted to see was replacing Warriors TV play-by-play man, Bob Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has been with the Warriors for close to two decades now and it seems as though fans have started to grow tired of hearing his overtly “homer” voice on Warriors telecasts.
The criticism for Fitzgerald runs deeper than just his on-air work with the Warriors. His daily talk show on KNBR rubs people the wrong way as its filled with condescending humor, constant reluctance to talk about the Warriors and when the Warriors are discussed its done so in only a “positive” or “glowing” manner. So, What gives?
More than one source has told me they believe the Warriors are paying Fitzgerald’s KNBR salary. That would certainly make sense. On the one hand, it saves KNBR from paying a six-figure salary to one of its on-air talents, and on the other, it assures that the Warriors will get a three-hour infomercial under the guise of sports talk from noon-to-3.
A source says “If that’s the case (that the Warriors are paying Fitzgerald for his radio show), that’s a real close ethical call. Particularly if it’s not being disclosed.”
This is damning information as it solidifies the belief of Fitzgerald being nothing more than a company shill who will spout and shape whatever message the team wishes to convey. As the source says “It’s one thing for everyone to know Fitzgerald is a homer, it’s another if people find out his three-hour show is nothing more than an infomercial that the Warriors pay for.”
Calls to KNBR were not returned.
Other anecdotes regarding Fitzgerald:
- He received a 3-yr contract extension from the Warriors not too long ago. As the source explains “Fitzgerald got his contract extension due to his relationship with Robert Rowell as neither Tim Roye nor Jim Barnett received a contract extension. Roye and Barnett have been given one year contracts for the past 5 seasons.” The fact that Fitzgerald parlayed his personal friendship with Rowell should come as no surprise as there were other members of the Warriors organization who received contract extensions based on their relationships with Rowell. The source states “Two or three day before sale was announced, a few real high-ups at Warriors (Travis Stanley, Neda Kia and Ben Shapiro)all got promotions and extensions.”
- Fitzgerald is a known violator of the unwritten rule in media which frowns upon fraternizing with players and coaches on the team charter. As a Warriors player told me, “Fitzgerald is always trying to talk to us on the plane and telling us how he’s got our back when it comes to making sure the right things are said and mentioned about us on-air.” This is interesting as its a known Fitzgerald trait to talk glowingly about players while they’re with the Warriors and rip them the moment they head elsewhere.
- I asked a former Warriors player his thoughts on Fitzgerald and he replied “Who’s that? Is that the TV guy? He’s always trying to be our friend and we’re like whatever man, just get lost.”. The need to be “one of the boys” seems to be a pressing issue for Fitzgerald as he seems hellbent on being accepted and deemed “cool”.
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