The Giants have canceled coach Pat Shurmur’s weekly Monday segment with WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa, a move that Newsday first reported on Thursday morning and Shurmur later confirmed to reporters.
“I think that was an organizational decision not to do that,” Shurmur said. “Most people aren't aware of this, but I wasn't contractually obligated to do that spot.
“We did it as a courtesy and out of respect for our relationship with the radio station. We just felt like for a while here, we'll put that to bed for a while, and just not do it and move forward."
Francesa addressed the matter at the top of his show and adopted a measured tone, although he did say, “The Giants have, unfortunately, from at least my estimation, become very good at hiding, and very good at losing.”
He said it was only the fourth time a coach or manager had stopped doing regular interviews with him during a season, referring to Mets managers Bud Harrelson Jeff Torborg and Dallas Green in the 1990s.
“I didn’t say anything that I thought was in any way personal,” Francesa said of his interview with Shurmur on Monday, after a 28-14 loss to the Bills, “unless he considers his record personal. I’d be affronted by his record, too, if I was Pat.”
Francesa acknowledged how difficult it is coaching the Giants – and talking about it – when you are losing, but he added, “I don’t think not talking about it is the answer, but listen, we don’t have to agree. It’s well within his bounds. I’ll just have to analyze it from afar rather than ask him the questions directly each week.”
He added, “This team is 8-26 in its last 34 games and that is the problem, not the questions.”
Shurmur was not paid separately for the appearances on the team’s flagship radio station. Eli Manning, who decided before this season no longer to do his weekly spot, was paid for doing them.
Francesa has been harshly critical of the Giants in general and general manager Dave Gettleman in particular in recent months.
In August, he declined to attend Giants training camp for the first time in three decades because of Gettleman not agreeing to be interviewed. “If he is hiding, I’ll pass,” Francesa wrote on Twitter.
That prompted a response from Pat Hanlon, the Giants’ senior vice president of communications, who took to Twitter with a reminder of Francesa’s harsh words for Gettleman in the spring, including calling him a liar.
On Tuesday, Francesa ripped Gettleman and team president John Mara for not commenting publicly when Manning was demoted to backup quarterback.
As for Shurmur, Francesa’s interactions with him were centered mostly around Francesa’s bluntly negative assessment of the 0-2 team’s performance.
During Monday’s interview, Francesa said, “The defense is abominable,” and, “You look like a terrible team. You’re not good at anything.”
Feeling that their respect for the station in doing the interviews was not being reciprocated, the Giants pulled the plug. It is possible Shurmur could appear on other WFAN shows in the future, but probably not the near future.