Another One Bites The Dust

Glen Kuiper is a 60-year-old one-time minor league baseball infielder who grew up in the highly diversified town of Racine, Wisconsin, the same hamlet that Kit Keller won the fictional AAGPL title for in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN.  He’s spent the majority of his post-baseball career as he did his on-field existence: second fiddle to his far more successful and popular older brother Duane, a Cleveland Indians infielder who appeared in the first-ever major league game managed by a black man (Frank Robinson) and who has broadcast the San Francisco Giants for 36 seasons during an era where they’ve won three World Series and appeared in ten post-seasons.  On Glen’s watch, the Moneyball-influed A’s do have eight playoff appearances, but never advanced to a Series, let alone won one.

But now, sadly, he’s more famous than his brother because of an incident that we focused on a couple of weeks back that USA Today elevated to greater attention after its “race and inequality editor” Mike Freeman demanded more than a suspension for an on-air gaffe.  Earlier this week, his colleague Lindsay Schnell followed up with this unsurprising update:

NBC Sports California has fired Oakland Athletics TV broadcaster Glen Kuiper two weeks after the veteran broadcaster used a racial slur on air

“Following an internal review, the decision has been made for NBC Sports California to end its relationship with Glen Kuiper, effective immediately,” the network said in a statement Monday. “We thank Glen for his dedication to Bay Area baseball over the years.”

An internal review.  The HR euphamism for “well, we already made up our mind, we just had to legally look we considered other options”.

The A’s play (at least for the time being) in a market and a state that elected Kamala Harris to three offices, and where potential senator Barbara Lee earlier this month gleefully took credit for what The Guardian announced as breakthrough and long deserved:

California taskforce on reparations voted this weekend to approve recommendations on how the state may compensate and apologize to Black residents for generations of harm caused by discriminatory policies.

The committee, the first of its kind in the United States, gave final approval to a hefty list of proposals, including cash payments to descendants of enslaved people.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who is co-sponsoring a bill in Congress to study restitution proposals for African Americans, said the work of the taskforce could be a national model, and called on states and the federal government to pass reparations legislation.

“Reparations are not only morally justifiable, but they have the potential to address longstanding racial disparities and inequalities,” Lee said.

Yep, Kuiper unquestionably got a fair shake.

So sadly, it became necessary for him to voice his side in an outlet like The New York Post, which Ethan Sears dutifully reported yesterday:

After NBC Sports California fired Kuiper as their A’s play-by-play broadcaster on Monday because he used the N-word on television while describing a trip to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, he released a statement to KRON4. 

Though it does include an apology, it is fairly defensive in tone — which is unlikely to help the broadcaster.

“Monday morning, I was informed by an NBC executive that after a 20-year broadcasting career with the Oakland Athletics, my contract was terminated, effective immediately,” Kuiper wrote. “The termination was due to the unintentional use of an offensive word on the air during the May 5 pregame show.

“On that day, I chose to spend my personal time by educating myself and learning more about MLB’s history by going to the Negro Leagues Museum. I spent nearly three hours there in an effort to better understand and more deeply appreciate the difficulties and social barriers African American players endured in MLB’s early years.

When the subject of the museum visit came up in the pregame show, I was excited and eager to share what I had done and seen that day. In my excitement, I rushed through the word ‘negro’ resulting in my very unfortunate mispronunciation. I sincerely apologize to everyone who was hurt by this. It was a terrible but honest mispronunciation, and I take full responsibility.

“Please know racism is in no way a part of me; it never has been, and it never will be. I appreciate the Negro League Museum president Bob Kendrick and Oakland A’s great Dave Stewart’s public support of me in light of this. I am an honest, caring, kind, honorable, respectful husband and father who would never utter a disparaging word about anybody. Those who know me best know this about me.

“I wish the Oakland A’s and NBC Sports would have taken into consideration my 20-year career, my solid reputation, integrity, and character, but in this current environment traits like integrity and character are no longer considered. I will always have a hard time understanding how one mistake in a 20-year broadcasting career is cause for termination but I know something better is in my future.

I’m sorry, what in all of that would you, objectively, under the circumstances, consider DEFENSIVE?

I am educated enough about the origin and usage of the word “woke” to know to apply it in this case blanketly, as another division of Sears’ company frequently does, would be inaccurate.  But whatever categorization one wants to use, the fact that we now apparently exist in a culture where when someone admits and apologizes for a slip of the tongue warrants nothing short of his career and income being immediately eliminated, regardless of the degree of contrition and willingness to become better educated that are offered up.

For anyone who wants to take a victory lap about this latest cancel culture victim, such as the nameless Oakland A’s executive who conducted the fair and just internal review, answer this, if only in your own mind:

What specifically did Glen Kuiper INTENTIONALLY say to YOU that would warrant YOU to take the step to eliminate his position ENTIRELY?

Maybe it might because the team is drawing fewer actual fans than their minor league team and your ownership was seeking an excuse not to pay him?

Despicable as that might be were it to be true, it would a lot more justified than the action you took.

If Kuiper is looking for some sort of hope, perhaps he can take some solace in the fact that the head of the NLBM that he supposedly slurred tweeted this not long after the on-air incident:

“I’m aware of the unfortunate slur made by Glen Kuiper,” Kendrick said. “I welcomed Glen to the NLBM yesterday and know he was genuinely excited to be here. The word is painful and has no place in our society. And while I don’t pretend to know Glen’s heart, I do know that my heart is one of forgiveness. I hope all of you will find it in yourselves to do the same.”

And perhaps he can take further solace in the experience that followed an on-air gaffe by another longtime broadcaster in August 2020, as reported by CNN’s Jill Martin:

The Cincinnati Reds have announced the suspension of a broadcaster after he uttered an anti-gay slur on the air Wednesday.

Play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman could be heard saying on the Fox Sports Ohio broadcast, “One of the f*g capitals of the world,” before then resuming his on-air duties. It’s unknown what led to that remark and the context behind it.

There was little question that Brennaman did not slur any words, and apparently was a victim of a “hot mic” in a socially distanced pandemic-era booth with little physically surrounding him to maximize his awareness.  A month later, Brennaman “resigned”, and also lost his FOX Sports national assignments with the NFL in the process.

Kuiper might be happy to be reminded that even after this, life does go on, as Jared Goffinet of Cincinnati’s FOX19 reported later that year:

Thom Brennaman has found a new job after he resigned in September following his use of an anti-gay slur while on-air, according to a report.

Brennaman will now do play-by-play for the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico, MLB on FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal says.

My Chicago colleague Mr. Denavi informs me that the Cubs may be parting ways with its current play-by-play announcer at the end of next year, as they review their money-losing and ill-timed broadcasting investment with the bankrupt Diamond Sports subsidiary of Sinclair.  Cubs ownership is reportedly more likely to consider his Oakland experience that “w” word.

Chicago’s climate isn’t that of San Juan, but its emotional temperment and how many billions they want to spend on families that never actually experienced themselves any of the so-called “reparations” Northern California believes current taxpayers should foot the bill for.

Regardless, Kuiper now is relieved of having to see, and attempt to put a positive spin, on a team whose current 10-41 record has them on pace to be the worst major league team of the past two centuries.

Now all he needs is that chance to still earn a living.  We all deserve it.

Yes, even the Oakland A’s HR personnel that may themselves be out of a job when the team moves.

See?  I’m not THAT unreasonable.   Would it be so wrong to expect others to follow suit?


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