Watchdog

Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Mike Francesa thought a TSA agent got a little too friendly at LaGuardia

WFAN long-time radio host Mike Francesa. (June 19,

WFAN long-time radio host Mike Francesa. (June 19, 2012) (Credit: Craig Ruttle)

WFAN's Mike Francesa flew from LaGuardia to New Orleans on Sunday along with a number of other local sports media scribes, including Newsday's own Tom Rock.

But soon after he boarded, word began to filter onto Twitter and blogs - including one of the biggest, Deadspin.com - and finally onto WFAN's own morning show that Big Mike had received an escort to the gate from uniformed police officers.

Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton made a couple of not-so-veiled references to the story Monday morning, with Esiason jokingly warning Carton to be kind to their afternoon teammate,  saying,  "If you make nice-nice around here maybe you can get a police escort when you go down to New Orleans.

When Francesa got wind of all this, he opened his first Super Bowl week show this way:

"Every year, for some reason, when I come to the Super Bowl, there is a story that has something to do with me about getting here or coming here: What hotel I'm staying at, or am I putting the show on Radio Row.

"This year's show, I'm sitting there this morning watching television and I talked to my kids as they got ready to go to school on the school bus because usually I take them to the school bus every morning so I always am there. So I'm talking to them as they're getting ready to go. I guess it was a little warmer but a rainy-ish morning today, and I got a couple of phone calls about going to the airport yesterday and what went on at the airport.

"I get a call from a couple of different writers, a couple of different people: What happened at the airport yesterday? I'm like: What are you talking about? And now I find out it was a big deal today in a couple of places that I supposedly had a police escort to the airport yesterday when I left LaGuardia.

"Now: I have to come clean. I didn’t really have a police escort. These guys yesterday morning, these cops who work the Port Authority and work at the airport actually came to my house, made me breakfast, packed my clothes, and they didn't pack them right the first time, so I made them pack them again, then they got like 15 cop cars together and they had like a big convoy, and we all went to the airport and they basically taxied me onto the tarmac and they opened the plane up and I got on.

"Now, what do you think? Honestly, I don't know where this story started. First of all, I went to the airport yesterday. My wife drove me with the kids, I got out of the car and was greeted by a couple of guys who I happen to know because my driver Julio, who's here because he's a Niner fan, who drives me all the time, is a long-time caller, Julio from Bay Ridge as everyone knows, and is a former New York City detective.

"So I know a couple of guys at the airport who are friends of his. I've given them tickets to games. I've given them tickets to games for their kids. So I know the guys. So yesterday when I was there they came over to say hello. They walked me inside to the airport and they hung out with me for a couple of minutes, talking sports. They sat down. I was there early.

"Somebody must have tweeted something – again, it's the same thing; it's always somebody making up a story or something, about me having a police escort to the airport and then the guys in the morning picked up on it and started making a big deal about it, then I've got people calling me up about it.

"A: Nobody escorted me to the airport, and there's Julio on TV. Don't show Julio on TV. He doesn't need anymore attention. Number 1: Nobody took me to the airport. Number 2: I stood on every line. Not only did I stand on line, but I hate metal check, OK? It's one of my least favorite things in the history of the world, because of the fact that I have a knee replacement and it goes off every time.

"I stood on the line, waited, waited got up there, put all my stuff in the bin, and of course it went off. So the guy came over, and the policemen who were the guys who were going to hang out with me because I was there about an hour early, when I got through they were going to join me again and sit down for a couple of minutes and talk a little sports, got in there and the guy said do you want to go to an area where you have a private search or are you going to do it here?

"I said, Do it here. Well, this guy, I'm telling you, I don't fly, I don't go in the airport too many times because I don't like it too much. So I go in there and this guy proceeds to search me and basically pat me down for like 15 minutes, to the point where I was going to slug him. I couldn't take it anymore. And finally, they clear me to go after, I mean, it went on forever. I must have been with this guy for 10 minutes. It was like a second date by the time I finished with this guy.

"I get through, then I go and I sit with these guys in the club for a couple of minutes. One guy is an Angel fan, the other guy is a Red Sox fan. We're talking sports, we're talking some different things. They take me over to the gate and the plane's delayed because the pilot wasn't there. He was sick or something.

"So they said goodbye and I sat there and sat up against the wall and there were a lot of New York media people and local media people on the plane that I saw, and then about an hour later or 45 minutes later the plane boarded and away we come.

"Now where the other story came from I have no idea. So sorry. Sorry for those people who made up this ridiculous story. There was no police escort. There was no anything. There was no preferential treatment, although I could have used some yesterday, I didn't get any. If they could have made me not have to stand on that line for 15 minutes and get patted down for 10 more I would have appreciated it, but they didn't do that.

"So they didn't do a thing except sit and talk to me for about 20 minutes after I got through the metal check line. Other than that, it made for a good story. So it seems like every year there is one of those as we begin. But I hate, I hate, I hate very much to defuse it and make it a story that breaks some people's hearts that I wasn't given preferential treatment.

"I would have taken it, but they didn't offer me any. I'm sorry. Sorry to burst your bubble."

Tags: WFAN , TSA , police , mike francesa

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