THE row over Brian Carthy's role in RTE Radio's GAA coverage escalated yesterday when Mickey Harte took the fight directly to the station live on air.
In an extensive interview with the 'Drivetime' programme, he availed of the opportunity to tell RTE Sport that they were treating one of their most experienced commentators most unfairly.
While insisting that he -- and the other managers who are refusing to co-operate with RTE radio in protest at their use of Carthy -- were not trying to dictate policy to the station, but were entitled to express their opinions.
"We're not in the business of telling RTE what to do, we're more in the business of alerting them to the fact, which may be escaping them at the moment, that lots of people know the quality than Brian Carthy brings to Gaelic Games coverage," said Harte.
"He has been commentating for over 25 years, toe to toe with Micheal O Muircheartaigh, and the very time Micheal retires from that role, Brian seems to be reduced in his role when you'd expect him to be upgraded."
As an example, he pointed out that Carthy wasn't the lead commentator at either of this year's Allianz League Division 1 football or hurling finals.
"Indeed, it was leaked to the newspapers before it was known to him that this was the case and he wasn't getting any of them," said Harte.
A letter from Harte and seven other managers, outlining why they thought Carthy was being unfairly treated, was sent to RTE on May 23, but a reply was only received on Tuesday. The managers will now consider the points raised in the letter. Harte refused to talk to RTE after last Sunday's Tyrone-Monaghan game, a development which brought the row into the open.
"We will make our valued judgments as we see fit from here on. We will do whatever we think is right and will put a lot of thought into it," said Harte.
He stressed that it wasn't an orchestrated campaign on Carthy's behalf, but rather an attempt to help out a friend.
"I would like to see RTE Sport afford Brian Carthy the respect he deserves for the years he has worked so hard and the quality he has brought to that work.
"I can't tell any organisation what to do with their internal affairs, but we all have opinions and we're entitled to them. It's interesting that the people who are lambasting us about the stand we're taking haven't given any credence to the fact that there may be some substance behind what we're saying.
"Nobody seems to delve into that. What is the history of this man within Gaelic Games commentary and where does he stand now? Without dictating to anybody, it's good sometimes to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, open your minds to the possibility that maybe somebody out there has something that could bring added value to your presentation and maybe you don't have all the answers inside your little cocoon," said Harte.
Kildare's Kieran McGeeney was the only other manager he named as being involved in the campaign, although it's known that there are at least six others. Not all managers have been approached on the issue although that could happen over the coming days.
There are seven senior championship games on the schedule for this weekend and RTE plans to invite all 14 managers for interview at some stage either before or after the matches.