Following Craig Carton’s arrest on fraud charges last week, a shaken Boomer Esiason said he was “praying” for his radio partner of 10 years on New York’s WFAN. On Monday, Esiaison revealed that he’d had his first conversation with Carton since the arrest, one that he described as “very somber.”
“I’m lost and heartbroken over the whole thing, trying to figure out what the future holds,” Esiason told the Boston radio team of Toucher and Rich (via CBS Boston). “ … We just have to wait and see, and only time will tell.”
Carton is accused of being behind a Ponzi-like scheme, along with a partner, involving a fake ticket resale business. Manhattan prosecutors have charged him and his alleged partner with securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy, and he could face up to 45 years in prison as well as millions of dollars in fines.
Court documents portrayed the 48-year-old Carton as being motivated by major gambling debts. All Esiason, 56, said he knows is that he’s hoping for the best for the co-host of his popular morning show, and that Carton is “going to fight as hard as he can.”
“It was a very somber call,” Esiason told Toucher & Rich. “I was more interested about his family, and you can imagine how that must be. If you guys have ever worked with anybody who has had problems in their life, you want the best for them. You want to love them and their family, you want to give them hope and support.
“But under the current circumstances, there is only so much support I can give, and a lot of it can’t be public,” he continued. “All I can do is tell him that I love him dearly, that I’m pulling for him and privately I’ll try to help him any way that I possibly can.”
Asked if he had seen “signs of trouble” from Carton, Esiason said, “That’s hard to say, because for 10 years, it’s been so unpredictable every time we go into the studio.” The former quarterback and NFL MVP said that for “90 percent of the show,” Carton was “doing a standup routine,” with Esiason playing “the laugh track” and “the older brother who is more mature.”
Esiason also mentioned that Carton has behavioral issues such as attention-deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and “a touch of Tourette’s.” He noted that Carton had said he was taking new medicine for restless leg syndrome, which was making it difficult to sleep.
Describing the apparent dissolution of their long-running partnership as “heartbreaking,” Esiason said that Carton told him that “he had to clear his name and to fight back.” Esiason added, “He has been basically ridiculed and scorned, rightfully so, and people are attacking him left and right. That’s the mine field that comes along with being a shock jock, if you will, in the morning.
“It’s sad, but according to all accounts and I think it started last week with a couple of public announcements, he’s going to fight as hard as he can.”
On his own show Monday, Esiason was joined by fellow CBS football analyst Phil Simms, a frequent “Boomer & Carton” fill-in host. “I don’t know what the future holds, I really don’t, but that doesn’t mean you abandon somebody because of a mistake they may have made, or why they made it, or how it happened, or whether it’s true,” Esiason said.
Carton, in an email statement to The Post on Tuesday, vowed to fight the charges and admitted he has faced “an endless stream of vitriol” since his arrest.
“I want to thank my family, friends and fans and especially Boomer for the outpouring of public and private support I’ve received over the past few days,” he said. “As you can imagine, it’s been incredibly hard to be silent while there is an endless stream of vitriol being hurled my way, but I’m confident that when the facts come out, you’ll see that I am not guilty of these charges. My fight has only just begun and I know when this strange episode is over, I’ll be back, stronger than ever. Thank you for all the kind words and good wishes as I continue on with one of the greatest battles of my life.”
(H/T Awful Announcing)