Matt Lauer could have picked anybody in the media to explain his Natalie Morales stance. Why did the (at least) $20 million-a-year Today show host choose a sportswriter? After a story in the New York Post cited an “inappropriate relationship” between Lauer and former coworker Morales as part of the reason for Morales’ exiting the Today show for Access Hollywood, Lauer visited the soft seats of Mike Lupica’s podcast.
— Natalie Morales (@NMoralesNBC) July 14, 2016
The rumor, according to the parties involved, is no more than unsubstantiated gossip. Morales called any “insinuations beyond” her leaving to forward her career “uninformed.” Lauer denied the insinuations too. To explain why he decided to speak out instead of just letting the rumor die on the vine, Lauer used an unusual platform, addressing the issue on Lupica’s podcast. Lupica, a Lauer pal (as are many in the media) and New York Daily News mainstay, has made his reputation as a sportswriter, but he also covers the world at large. Lupica these days is as likely to take on Bernie Sanders as Bartolo Colon. In Lupica, Lauer found a very friendly environment with a largely male audience to explain his actions on the the Natalie Morales rumors. It’s an interesting choice.