Heading into the Bruins-Lightning series, we all expected good hockey. We didn't expect an odd Twitter war breaking out between a Tampa radio host and the fans of the Boston Bruins. That is, however, what we have.
Mike "Cowhead" Calta became known in Boston on Wednesday as the guy who led the protest to remove signs outside the TD Garden. The signs were playful attempts at humor, taking lighthearted shots at Lightning fans. But Calta rallied his listeners to call the Bruins' marketing people until they took down the signs. The Bruins eventually complied, prompting Cowhead to brag to the St. Petersburg Times that he and his listeners moved in "like Seal Team 6" … as in the Navy SEAL unit that just killed Osama bin Laden.
As tasteless as the comment was, it was just the beginning.
Cowhead, originally famous for his work with Todd "Bubba the Love Sponge" Clem, decided to engage with every person who sent criticism his way on Twitter. He called a woman from the Bruins' marketing department a "woman/dude" and a "wookie." He responded to an insult by saying "Holy [expletive] you people are retards." He told one person whose picture included a female that "you are an adorable gay couple!" He called a Bruins fan with a red beard a "ginger."
"The best part about twitter is that I don't have to actually hear your retarded boston [expletive] accents!" he wrote.
Considering the website for The Cowhead Show includes a section for "Retarded News," it's less surprising that Calta is engaging in this discussion with fans than it is shocking that he's allowed on the air every day. Playful jabs at opposing fan bases during playoff series in any sport are expected and even encouraged, particularly among talk radio hosts, whose job titles include the ability to get people riled up. Homophobic jokes, tasteless insults and hateful speech, however, are never acceptable under any circumstance.
But, from a guy who just a few weeks ago was making cancer jokes at Roger Ebert's expense during a Charlie Sheen show, should you really expect anything better?
Photo from Mike Calta's Twitter page