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John Ireland can talk the talk, but can he walk when he says he will?

T.J. SIMERS

Ireland, the Lakers sideline reporter and 710 radio host, said he'd walk home if the Lakers lost in Cleveland. He has yet to make that journey, but autism research will benefit.

March 01, 2011|T.J. Simers
  • Lakers television reporter John Ireland interviews forward Lamar Odom earlier this season at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix.
Lakers television reporter John Ireland interviews forward Lamar Odom… (P.A. Molumby / NBAE via Getty…)

I do not know the FCC's position on such a thing.

At the very least, I would think it's a crime against humanity.

In this case, our very own connection to the Lakers is guilty and not to be trusted.

Every time the Lakers play, broadcaster John Ireland begins the night schmoozing with Phil Jackson and ends the evening with an arm around one of the Lakers players.

He also travels with the Lakers on their team plane, stays at their hotel, carries their bags and rides the team bus.

We have come to count on Ireland for his Lakers-biased insight. That's right — count on John Ireland.

He's also the star of the "Mason & Ireland" radio show, where he shares with us his Lakers insight. There would be no reason to listen to the show without it.

A few weeks back, someone suggested the Lakers might lose to Cleveland. You know how skittish Lakers fans have been this season with so many ups and downs.

Ireland immediately and emphatically put everyone's mind at ease, saying it was not possible. He said that if the Lakers lost in Cleveland, he would walk home.

Well, he lied.

The Lakers lost to Cleveland, and Ireland boarded the team bus and then the team plane home to L.A.

How many other times has he lied to us? Can you imagine Plaschke writing something outrageous and later acting as if he did no such thing?

Ireland not only said it, but repeated his claim that would walk home. "Why wouldn't I?" he said.

Well, walk a mile in Ireland's shoes and you will be the first to do so. When I asked Ireland about misleading everyone, he said, "I should tell you, you shouldn't believe me when I talk."

Sounds like a great 710 promo: "We talk a lot here, but don't believe a word we say."

"That's sports talk radio," Ireland said. "We're all guilty of hyperbolic commentary and embellishing things."

That would suggest anyone listening to sports talk is a moron or a fan of WWE, although if Vince McMahon said he was walking home from Cleveland, he'd have more credibility.

"I looked into it," claimed Ireland. "I figured it would take 10 weeks to walk the 2,344 miles." That's less than 34 miles a day, or a reminder we're not talking about an athlete here.

Ireland is not only the star of "Mason & Ireland" but also the more likable. More sensible. Better-dressed too. Certainly not the one you'd expect to weasel out of anything.

But Ireland said he was worried about not being here to do his job. Now that we know we can't believe anything he has to say, does it really matter if he's here?

He said he made up for his hyperbolic commentary by donating $1,000 to "Walk Now for Autism Speaks." He said he hoped to encourage others to reach his goal of $2,344.

Whipty-do! I would guess our hyperbolic commentator is a millionaire by now, working TV and radio. So why isn't he donating $2,344 himself to cover the 2,344 miles he failed to walk?

As soon as Channel 2's Jim Hill hears this, he will probably donate $2,344 to the autism walk. And he has no apologies to make to anyone. That's just the kind of guy he is.

Jim Hill might even call his good pal Frank McCourt and ask for a $2,344 donation. Six years ago, the Dodgers forced the autism walk to move to the Rose Bowl because the Dodgers wouldn't allow the event to be staged in their empty parking lot two days before the start of the season.

McCourt has a chance to make amends. If he needs help from Fox to do it, so be it. I'm sure Bud Selig will approve.

"OK," said Ireland. "I'm going online and I am going to make my total donation to Autism Speaks $2,344."

Ordinarily, it would go without saying his radio partner would do the same, but just in case, I called Mason.

He said he had already made an anonymous contribution, which would account for the 44 cents that someone donated.

Mason said he made an additional $50 donation Monday, and then he waited for the applause.

I reminded him that no one will listen to anything Ireland has to say anymore and Ireland is the only reason to listen to the show. He took serious issue with that, but I reminded him he had undercut Ireland a few years back, Ireland getting the boot and Mason getting his own show.

It lasted five months before management begged Ireland to return. Mason has to have Ireland sitting beside him, and now he has to hope people forgive Ireland for lying to them.

"If I told you you could keep your job if you just donated $2,344 to help regain Ireland's credibility, what would you say?"

Mason was quicker than normal. "I would say I'm going to donate $2,344 to Autism Speaks in the name of the liar, John Ireland, as soon as I hang up."

I would think Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith, who have to be thrilled they even have jobs, would also donate $2,344 to support their 710 brothers. If they do, we'll certainly hear about it.

All they have to do is go to walknowforautismspeaks.org and type in the liar's last name. Then donate on his team page.

I'm sure 710 management will donate $2,344 too, to stave off an FCC fine for one of their hosts lying to the public.

That would make $16,408 for autism coming from Ireland, Hill, McCourt/Fox, Mason, Kellerman, Smith and 710 management.

Throw in donations from Ireland & Mason listeners who now feel guilty for believing anything they've heard on the show, and it could hit $20,000.

Ireland's best work to date.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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