What to do about Howard Eskin?

OMG! Am I actually going to defend Howard Eskin?

Actually, no. But I am not going to convict him either — not yet.

Howard Eskin in the mink, and on the field (Photo: Inquirer)

The bombastic, extroverted veteran broadcaster stands accused of attempting to kiss an Aramark employee, against her wishes.

Here is the key paragraph in an Inquirer story:  

“The incident happened hours before a game in the CP Rankin Club, an exclusive seating area behind home plate formerly known as the Diamond Club, according to sources, who were not willing to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Eskin allegedly tried to kiss the woman as she backed away.”

“Tried.” Later versions of the story allege that Eskin actually kissed the woman. Had the facts changed, or was this just lazy reporting, or a willful distortion?

So, my first question is this: Was it an attempt to kiss, or did he make physical contact? It makes a difference.

My second question is this: If he made the attempt, was it sexual in nature, or was it avuncular? (I have not seen reporting on the employee’s age. Eskin is 73.) 

More questions: Was he trying to kiss her on the lips, or on the cheek?

Was he attempting to kiss her at all?

Was it more Mario Cuomo or Joe Biden or Donald J. Trump?

I am not defending Eskin. I am seeking information before judgment. I left a voicemail message asking him to tell me his side.

I have known and reported on Eskin for decades, and we have been frenemies.

I often commented on his brusque on-air style as a radio host, often abusing callers who disagreed with the self-styled “king,” (a royal title bestowed on him by Pete Rose). He was a jerk, but it was show business and it worked for him. His ratings were great. He was a star, one could say legend.

I was put off by his mink coats,  I once asked him how many Rolex watches he needed, I criticized him for being too cozy with some athletes he covered, and even getting autographs from athletes, which is a no-no for journalists, who are not supposed to use their position for personal gain.

He can be a royal asshole.

I had developed a short-hand description of him, which actually hurt.

I know that it hurt because he called me and asked me to stop using it, because it did hurt.

I can be an asshole too, but I wanted to embarrass him, not hurt him.

So I stopped using it.

But, now, for illustrative purposes, I will drag it out of the closet.

That short-hand term was “multi-media celebrity jock sniffer.”


As a  kid straight outta Northeast High School, he has done enormously well. 

I called him “multi-media,” because he worked for several TV stations and was one of the original hosts when WIP went all sports in 1986. 

He soon became king of afternoon drive. The Inquirer’s Marcus Hayes, described him as “the undisputed champion of sports talk radio.”

How did Eskin get there? His work ethic.

Eskin was everywhere.

In the parlance of journalism, he flew the flag at press conferences, workouts, games. There were few events he didn’t cover. Yes, he could be an arrogant jerk — like when he had to apologize for claiming the Miss America pageant was rigged — but he was there. He put in the time. He developed and worked his sources. 

He even wrote a column for the Daily News for a while, which I said provided full-time work for three copy editors and two libel lawyers.

He’s done more than 8,000 shows, reportedly more than any other American sportscaster.

In between sports talk, he championed liberal causes, such as smoking bans, and medical tort reform. 

He helped raise $400,000 for the Eagles Autism Foundation, and helped organize fund-raisers. He raised more than $100,000 for animal shelters after Hurricane Katrina.

The Broadcast Pioneers inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2011.

As far as romantic episodes, he stepped on a land mine in 1997, when he was revealed to be the “prominent Philadelphia sportscaster” who sent a dozen roses to a woman whose husband killed her five days later.

A warm note came with the roses.

Eskin said later he had never met the woman and the roses were just an attempt to brighten a lonely woman’s life.

I learned from Eskin’s florist that he regularly made such gestures.

Was he just a caring guy, or a guy on the make? I don’t know.

This case reminds me of the 2022 incident when the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation kissed a star player on the lips during the team’s trophy ceremony after winning the Women’s World Cup. Head coach Jorge Vilda was later fired for making light of the kiss, calling the outrage “real nonsense.”

Was the kiss exuberance, or sexual assault? I don’t know. 

The president, Luis Rubiales, was banned for three years and faced charges of sexual assault.

So what is the proper punishment for Eskin, who has already been banned (by his employer, Audacy), from Citizens Bank Park, and by the Sixers from its training facilities?

Ban him from all sports venues?

Charge him criminally?

I don’t know, and I would like to hear from the defendant before passing judgment.

28 thoughts on “What to do about Howard Eskin?”

      1. Stu, check it out. In PA, it’s been the Rs that have pushed it in the legislature. That’s one reason why trial lawyers give more to Dems.

  1. When ever I see a mob of sports reporters armed with pitchforks and torches embarking on a moral crusade, it’s always time to hit the pause button and send some news guys in to find out the facts before they hang somebody.

  2. Whelp, the cops didn’t get involved, so she didn’t want the lime light ( unless a lawyer is getting to her) but I kind of doubt it. I believe that has been all been taken care of with bonus checks, tickets and atta girls. So the companies involved needed to do something, just to keep this girl from going to the press, and H.E. from getting locked up. Simple solution, put him in an office and shut him up. So Stu. I doubt you’ll get his side of the story, without him becoming unemployed, or running coffee for the kid for the rest of his life. NDS. I believe it’s called 🙂

  3. Why didn’t the poor little darling, not wishing to be kissed, simply tell Eskin, “Back off, asshole! Not interested!” No, she had to go weeping to the press and basically destroy a guy’s reputation. And the fearful weenies who run the baseball and basketball venues immediately fell into line and banned Eskin from their premises, thereby preventing him from doing his job. Now, where does Eskin go to get his reputation back after it turns out (as I suspect it will) to have been an old guy simply trying to give a looker a smooch?

    1. If true, the “poor little darling” should have kicked his ass! His advances were unwelcome. She shouldn’t have to defend herself by telling him to back off. He shouldn’t be kissing anyone while on the job! He also could have shown some restraint or self control. At 73, he might be considered by many to be a “dirty old man”. It’s creepy, and not the first time Eskin has been accused of something like this. His reputation is tarnished because of his actions NOT hers!

      1. All those creepy pix of Joe Biden, the Vegetable-in-Chief, putting his hands on women, rubbing their shoulders and backs, and so on, got him into the White House. I guess it’s who the groper is that counts.

      2. What world are you living in? Of course it should not have happened, but s**t happens; it is how one deals with the s**t thrown at them that counts.

    2. Your use of the term “poor little darling” in regards to the complainant here is very telling, Vince. While I agree with Stu in that no judgment should be rendered until all the facts are in, I am willing to make a final judgment that YOU are an ignorant, sexist fool by making such a statement now, before any of the full facts of the incident are known. But of course, that is just one man’s opinion.

  4. Howard and I graduated together from Northeast High in 1968. The similarities end even before that. We were never friends. I knew who he was simply because of his reputation as a jerk, even back then, along with friends who played on the football team and knew of him. In a class as large as ours, and my leaning towards being a bit of a nerd, he likely never knew who I was. In terms of personality, nothing had ever changed through the years. But I always admired how hard he worked, how he got the stories, right way more than wrong. From a professional standpoint he was simply the best, and I loved listening to him. With regard to the kiss, did he or didn’t he? What was his intent? I have no idea and as you say, his side needs to be heard before I’d make further judgments.

  5. I Can’t really comment til all the facts are brought to light. Don’t want to jump to any conclusions. I believe Howard’s lawyer doesn’t want Howard to say a word. I’m sure that is hard for Howard to do. I won’t bury him until the final word is in. I hear Katy Perry will be releasing a new song for Howard, “I KISSED A GIRL AND SHE DIDN’T LIKE IT” lol

    1. Good closing joke, and, yes, Howard may have lawyered up and wants this to blow over. But what happens if the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers ban him from games?

  6. “So, my first question is this: Was it an attempt to kiss, or did he make physical contact? It makes a difference.
    My second question is this: If he made the attempt, was it sexual in nature, or was it avuncular? (I have not seen reporting on the employee’s age. Eskin is 73.)
    More questions: Was he trying to kiss her on the lips, or on the cheek?
    Was he attempting to kiss her at all?”

    None of this matters, he tried to or did kiss her without her permission. This is no different when rape victims in court would be asked if there clothing, underwear (even if it couldn’t be seen), or their perfume provoked them man.

  7. I thought former Stinquirer sportswriter extraodinaire Angelo Cataldi was King of Philly sports radio?
    P.S. I miss Wingbowl. The several times I attended were a blast!!!

  8. If there are no criminal charges pending, then there is nothing keeping those involved from commenting. I don’t expect the woman to come forth, but it would be helpful if she did. It would be nice to hear a statement from Eskin, but even more so from a spokesperson from Audacy. The only way you can quell speculation is with an airing of the facts.

    If the allegations are true, a temporary suspension from both the radio airwaves in Philly and access to the stadiums where Aramark provides services are completely warranted. Banning him from the Eagles would hit him where it hurts the most because he is a loyal lapdog for the team. The Sixers probably jumped on the situation because he is highly critical of them. The Flyers don’t care because he never talks about them or goes to their games.

    Like him or not, Eskin is a fixture of Philly sports media. The subject deserves coverage, so kudos to CBS3 and NBC10, and to figures like Angelo Cataldi, Stu Bykofsky and Marcus Hayes who have weighed in on the story. WIP needs to let callers talk about it on air as well. While I can see why Spike Eskin wants to avoid it because his Dad has embarrassed the family, other hosts should not shy away from discussing it.

      1. Thanks Stu.

        Interestingly, what originally looked like a pre-emption of Eskin’s regular July 13th Saturday morning show in favor of a paean to the retiring Glenn Macnow turned into a standard “Best of WIP” rerun after about 20-25 minutes. This leads one to believe that the station or it’s parent company, Audacy, has taken some kind of disciplinary action towards Eskin. The question remains as to why they continue to be so cowardly about it. Why can’t they simply come out and release a statement about the entire incident and what has been done to remedy it? I plan to call the station office on Monday and pose that question to them. With the MLB All Star Game break coming up next week, it will be intriguing to see if Eskin’s “Riding with the King” segments appear on Tuesday and Thursday at 6 PM.

Comments are closed.