Via WEEI -
“Happy New Year from us to you! Here’s to a great 2014!” — Will Middlebrooks (on Twitter), Dec. 31, 2013
That tweet was sent out to the roughly 143,000 followers of Middlebrooks — third baseman of the Boston Red Sox — on New Year’s Eve. The other half of the “us” referenced by Middlebrooks? That would be Jenny Dell, who, we all know, covers the Red Sox for NESN. This tweet (accompanied by a picture of Middlebrooks with his arm around Dell at a New Year’s Eve party) was, basically, an announcement: Middlebrooks and Dell were dating. This came a little over a week after The Boston Globe had reported that the two were living together.
On its own, who cares? Both are young, single, successful, attractive, well-liked by teammates and colleagues. Dell is hugely popular both among fans and people at NESN, and Middlebrooks has done much charity work in his short career with the Red Sox. And this is, last we checked, a free country. So let’s allow the kids some fun, stay out of the way, and see how it ends. Usually, I’m on board with that. As a libertarian that is exactly what I believe — I’m going to stay out of your business and you should stay away from mine.
Except there’s the issue of conflict of interest.
Now, I don’t have the first clue how this is going to end. Maybe Dell leaves NESN for Fox Sports 1, as has been reported. Maybe NESN shifts her over to more studio hosting or some other role. Or maybe she just quits. But there is no way NESN can bring her back in her current position as (according to her own bio on Twitter) NESN reporter for the Boston Red Sox.
Put it another way: There is no way NESN’s coverage of the Red Sox can be taken seriously if Dell is allowed to return to that position. The already blurred lines will permanently be crossed. What’ll be next?
If you’re going to have chippy on the field eye-candy reporters, you better make sure she has horse teeth like Kim Jones or is somewhat bovine like Meredith Marakovits, otherwise, eventually, someone is going to make a move on them…