It’s not everyday that a sports department publishes a viewer’s scathing criticism of our own coverage.

And it’s thankfully not every week that our two local NFL teams suffer abysmal losses.

What do you think about the Raiders’ coverage? Of course, this Sunday, as the Raiders play the 49ers, the Bay Area is even more conflicted.

Here’s what the viewer wrote us, and sports director Dennis O’Donnell’s response.

TO: O’Donnell, Dennis J
SUBJECT: The Fifth Quarter Broadcast

Dear Gentlemen,

I will try to make this a simple and brief as humanly possible. I am SICK and TIRED of listening to the sports casters you have and their OBVIOUS slant toward Niners and mockery and distain for the Raiders. I have been a Raider fan for over 35 years and after listening to Michael McDonald tonight it makes me sick. My understanding of the news is that it is to be reported in a ‘neutral fashion’ with no leaning in either direction. Tonight he made so many snide remarks, disparaging comments and an overall mocking the Raider game it was shameful and quite frankly it is totally uncalled for.

When he reports a game for the Niners (even if they lost) he has a way of spinning it so that it is so gentle and almost that it isn’t their fault, or it’s ok. He NEVER makes a snide remark or mocks them in any way, shape or form.

As a favor to me, you watch the ‘after game’ show that he does with JJ Stokes and ask yourself if you don’t hear the same things that I and many others heard tonight. Please just do me that favor. And believe me, I get it….. If he is a fan of a team just keep it to yourself and act like a professional. If you watch the guys that do the pre-game on Sunday mornings, they all have favorites but not one of them will ever hint or indicate in anyway…. They just report their findings in a neutral, non-offensive manner.

Please let me know your thoughts,
Concerned Viewer
FROM: O’Donnell, Dennis J
TO: Concerned Viewer
SUBJECT: The Fifth Quarter Broadcast

Dear Concerned Viewer,

I’m guessing that your letter refers to me. My name is Dennis O’Donnell and I anchor the Fifth Quarter postgame shows with JJ Stokes and Jeremy Newberry.

First off, thanks for taking the time to write and I appreciate your feedback.

My approach to these shows is to be as objective as possible. I try not to let my allegiance to a particular team enter into my analysis or presentation.

The truth is, I am a frustrated Raider fan. I was thrilled when the 49ers cut Jim Plunkett–who then became a star in Oakland and led the Raiders to two Lombardi trophies. Additionally, it benefits KPIX-TV if the Raiders win football games.

Unfortunately, the facts speak for themselves. The Raiders are 1-11. They lost to a last place team, 52-0. It was the second-worst loss in the history of the franchise and they looked like a team in complete disarray. If you have watched our show on weekly basis, you know that I have consistently praised the Raiders for the competitiveness and their refusal to quit despite their record and the change of coaches. There was nothing positive to assess from Sunday’s loss.

As for the 49ers, our analysis of the situation in Santa Clara was less than flattering. Even their owner apologized for the loss to Seattle. Two reports from reputable writers cited sources saying Jim Harbaugh is most likely gone after the season. There was nothing gentle or “ok” about our coverage of the 49ers, their quarterback, or their offense.

I hope the future brings more wins and playoffs.

In the meantime, I hope viewers appreciate the truth. And the truth is, this was a lousy week for both the Raiders and 49ers.

Thank you for writing and for watching.


Dennis O’Donnell
Sports Director, KPIX-TV

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Name and email address withheld to respect the viewers’ privacy.


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