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Fire Britt McHenry petitions gain steam; Chicago Fire player chastised ESPN reporter

The drumbeat for Britt McHenry's firing got a little louder. An online petition calling for the ESPN reporter to be dismissed gained 3,400 signatures in about 20 hours since late Thursday. Another petition has more than 3,000 supporters.

ESPN suspended McHenry on Thursday after a video of her berating a towing company employee went viral. In the video, McHenry boasts about her standing as a TV journalist and belittles the employee about her job, weight and teeth. McHenry later apologized.

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A one-sentence Change.org petition to the sports network simply says, "ESPN: Fire Britt McHenry." It's seeking 5,000 signatures. The site contained at least seven petitions requesting McHenry's ouster.

Her comments were stomach turning," wrote one supporter.

Another said McHenry needs to be taught a lesson. "1 week suspension will not do. If ESPN wants a bad reputation, allow her back on air or to work in any capacity and they'll get it. ESPN should be ashamed of themselves."

According to twittercounter.com, @BrittMcHenry has gained more than 8,500 followers since Thursday. The hashtag #FireBrittMcHenry, created in support of online petitions, has appeared in more than 7,800 tweets in the same time span, according to topsy.com.

In December, Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee criticized McHenry for a comment she made about soccer. NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham'turned down a chance to play for the U.S. national team, one reason "why we'll never have European caliber soccer," McHenry tweeted.

Magee replied, "I've stumbled on some ridiculous tweets in my day but this one stood out. Thanks for the laugh Britt."

Twitter @_phil_thompson

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