Sports Hub and WEEI in Boston have taken the top spots in the Nielsen's ratings book for the last couple of decades in the 25-to-54 demographic. But in that time, a pattern of insensitive and racist comments have caused repercussions. In the latest incident, a producer on WEEI made an on-air comment using an ethnic slur for an Asian-American sports reporter, and received a one week suspension. Yahoo! Sports writers Shalise Manza Young recently published an article taking a look at the impact and influence of these stations in a city that is so often referred to as racist, and joined GBH’s Morning Edition hosts Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel to talk about it. This transcript has been lightly edited.

Paris Alston: Thanks so much for joining us. So, Shalise, in your article, you laid out several incidents that have happened here with offensive, and at times racist, on-air remarks that you say would get hosts anywhere else fired. Why do you think the stations here have been more lenient?

Shalise Manza Young: I wish I knew the answer to that. I would like to clarify, I don't think that everybody should be fired, necessarily. But in doing research for that piece, I found multiple incidents within the last three or four years where sports radio hosts — one in Canada who questioned whether an Asian ice hockey player actually spoke English, one I believe in upstate New York, where they were comparing the skin tone of Black women and saying that lighter-skinned Black women were more appealing than darker-skinned Black women — and those hosts were fired. So when you have incidences like you have in Boston — one week suspension, and some of these get nothing. And the most we've seen was way back in 2003: A two week-suspension for comparing Black children in the METCO program to gorillas. And that's the longest suspension we've seen. Again, I'm not advocating. But there has to be a point where these stations, particularly WEEI, who has been the bigger offender when it comes to these situations, says 'this is not who we are,' or at least wants the outside world to see that that's not who they are.

Jeremy Siegel: Shalise, how do you think these situations and the responses to them feed the reputation that Boston as a city is racist?

Manza Young: I think it 100% feeds the reputation. It's completely upholding that reputation. And, you know, I've pushed back. I live here in Boston. I've pushed back for a long time on, is it the most racist? Because everywhere is racist in America. So is Boston most racist? It depends, I don't know what metrics we would use for that necessarily, but when something like that happens and we had two incidents very close together this calendar year, one on the Sports Hub and one on WEEI, the headlines nationally and the reaction on Twitter and other place on social media were, 'oh, of course it's Boston.' And if something like that happened somewhere else, it seems like an isolated incident where here it's treated as, oh, it's Tuesday, there's more racism coming out of Boston. And I think it's 100% harming the city.

Alston: You know, Shalise, at the top we illustrated how much Boston loves its sports teams, and rightfully so: We've won championship after championship. But at the same time we hear about instances in which our own athletes are subject to that that vitriol. And I guess I wonder: I think there's a tendency to want to separate the things that we hear in media and in sports media here in Boston from the fan base. But to what extent is the fan base complicit in that?

Manza Young: So I think in these more recent incidents, at least what I saw on social media, I did see many people who were saying this is getting ridiculous. Why does this keep happening? But also, why does it have to be that you can't talk about sports without it venturing into these things? The teams here are so successful by and large: The Bruins are the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup this year. The Patriots, we all know the success that they've had. All the teams here have enjoyed tremendous success over the last 20 or so years. And so I think that is where it becomes when something happens. The one that I point to, and I think really highlights everything, is in 2017, with Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. And when he said that he was called the N-word multiple times and had a bag of peanuts thrown at him in the course of a game here at Fenway Park, the reaction the next morning on sports media was certainly not empathy for Adam Jones. If you wanted to rage at something, why not rage at that fan who did that and say, 'hey, you're making the rest of us look bad? This is why people think Boston is this way.'

And instead of directing their anger at that person, the anger was directly to Adam Jones and he was instantly called a liar. Everyone wanted to see proof and there was not even the empathy or the curiosity, the intelligence. I spoke with Michael Holley, who was a host on WEEI and is a Black man, and he was working at WEEI that time. And he said some of these hosts get these platforms and they lack the intelligence to understand what these topics are. And you have to understand that how you experience life — because all at the time, outside of Holley, all of the hosts on Boston sports radio were white men — how you walk through life as a white man is not the same as how other people are perceived as they walk through life.

And Adam Jones had nothing to gain from saying that happened to him. And even Red Sox players came out and said in Fenway Park, they have been called the N-word. But instead, the news cycle, at least in sports radio that week, became calling him the liar, and the feigned outrage that Boston was once again being called racist. Instead of channeling that anger into saying, hey, the one or two or three of you who did this, cut it out because you're making the rest of us look bad. And when the news cycle becomes the outrage directed at the victim, then you're not taking the time to try to fix what the problem is or even address what the problem is.