Another day, another resignation at Fox Soccer Report. Long time Fox Soccer Report host Derek Taylor is leaving the show. Taylor is joining a new morning show premiering February 6 on a Global Winnipeg show. Taylor’s departure marks the fourth host leaving FSR in just about eighteen months. Only Michelle Lissel and Eoin O’Callaghan remain along with long-time analyst Bobby McMahon.
That sort of turnover leads one to wonder what exactly is going on at the FSR studios in Winnipeg, Ontario.
It is that question that has been a white whale of mine for some time. Very little information ever came directly from the people on the scene. But, enough information was gathered to paint a picture of a dysfunctional work environment. It is difficult to tell who is at fault in the matter without hearing from all sides but it’s clear something was amiss.
So, what started this epic whale search?
A mysterious tweet from a Matt Donaldson (@MGD4me) back in July 2010 to @UFdotcom detailing an alleged suspension of Jeremy St. Louis. Apparently Mr. Donaldson had a friend on the inside at FSR telling him Lara Baldesarra caused Mr. St. Louis’ suspension. Mr. Donaldson had plenty more to say about FSR supportive of Mr. St. Louis and critical of Lara Baldesarra. The criticisms were nothing new to this website or the internet.
Then, another tweet to Mr. St. Louis by Mr. Donaldson cryptically saying “@jrstlouis Bad things happen to good people. Shame. Will do as asked.”
Mr. Donaldson disappeared. His account deleted. No response to inquiries by me. Nothing.
Presumably his tweets caused trouble for Mr. St. Louis who requested, privately, that he stop.
Then, Jeremy St. Louis’ twitter account was deleted only to reappear with another “official” twitter account @jstlouisFSR (which is now gone since his departure from the show).
Here are all of Mr. Donaldson’s tweets. Ever.
So what exactly happened at FSR in 2010? It’s not clear but another internet search turned up more information over at Big Soccer. There was lots of detail about the alleged incident (post #414 midpage) courtesy of a “Balls2TheWall” who had a grand total of three posts at Big Soccer. Here’s what Mr. Balls2TheWall (presumably it was a male given the handle) had to say:
I’m not sure how accurate this is but I heard from a friend of mine involved in MLS that Lara recently had Jeremy suspended?
Story I heard is Jeremy finally lost it with Lara’s poor performances and made them stop the taping of the show one night recently when the two of them were on the desk.
Lara then sent a video clip copy of the incident, which apparently happens quite frequently in the TV business, to the bosses (this Jon Lovlin perhaps?) and they suspended Jeremy and pulled him off the desk – despite the fact Lara hurled expletives at him for admonishing her.
I guess we know who management is backing and that explains why they’ve kept her for as long as they have.
This was posted on July 17, 2010. Around the same days as Mr. Donaldson’s tweets. Are Mr. Donaldson and Mr. Balls2TheWall one and the same? Who knows.
But, Mr. St. Louis can confirm that something occurred. He does not confirm the veracity of the online postings but he does not deny them either. He provided this statement to UF:
“As for what happened with me – I will just say this: these things happen in this business. Sometimes, people just don’t get along, no matter how hard each party tries to make it work. Unfortunately, this happened with me and one of my former colleagues – along with my direct Supervisor. It was truly better for everyone involved if each of us moved on – I believe that. In hindsight, I will always cherish my time at (and on) FSR and the many viewers that have become friends down the years. Do I miss it? I do. But, I am where I am supposed to be.”
All three principals involved have since left the show. Jeremy St. Louis works in radio in Winnipeg. Jon Lovlin, the producer, has been replaced. And, Lara Baldesarra was doing an online soccer show for Setanta in Canada but has just recently left to parts unknown. She has been teasing a new job that will have her moving to the US.
You would think that would be the end of the story but not quite.
Doing research for the story turned up some interesting edits in the Wikipedia pages for Jeremy St. Louis, Lara Baldesarra and Terri Leigh. All of which seemed to occur in the same Summer 2010 period. Of course all of these are [sic'd].
From Jeremy St. Louis’ page:
- “He married a fellow sports journalist in one of the first public same-sex marriage ceremonies in Manitoba.“
- Then there was this edit that indicated his performances were substandard.
- Another edit outed private information about his marriage to Terri Leigh. At the time their marriage was not public information. Although it is now.
It just so happens those edits came from IP addresses in Winnipeg, Canada.
From Terri Leigh’s page:
- An edit calling Ms. Leigh a college dropout who grew up in a ‘combine.’ “Terri dropped out of college after half a semester and returned to the mennonite combine she grew-up in.”
- Another edit saying she got married to get on TV and that she had been a “late night sex voice” prior to joining FSR.
From Lara Baldesarra’s page:
- The edits are far more complimentary about her role on the show from the same Winnipeg IP address and around the same time.
- Except for this one which provides some personal information about her, which is traceable to an Alberta, Canada IP address: “She is now dating a well known businessman based in Edmonton of Africa descent called Tony Marc.”
All very interesting, huh? But nothing concrete. What happened will likely always remain a mystery but we can always play the speculation game, no? Unless somebody else can come up with more information.