UPDATED: 5:45 p.m. ET, May 22
Originally published on May 7
A now-former Major League Baseball announcer who said the N-word live on the air has been fired more than two weeks after he uttered the consequential racist slur before a game began.
Glen Kuiper purportedly mistakenly said the N-word when referring to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City on May 6.
Kuiper issued a formal apology, but ESPN reported that NBC Sports California, the network that broadcasts Oakland Athletics games on television, fired Kuiper on Monday.
“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.”
A person familiar with the investigation said “the decision was based on a variety of factors, including information uncovered in the internal review.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity and didn’t divulge specific details because the network had not publicly disclosed the results of the investigation.
A Major League Baseball announcer had the very white privilege of not being fired after he said the N-word, fully pronounced with a hard R and all, with a smile on his face on live TV during a Friday night telecast.
Glen Kuiper, who announces for the Oakland Athletics baseball team, has been suspended from his position “until a review of what happened during Friday night’s broadcast is completed,” ESPN reported.
But anybody with fully functioning ears probably doesn’t need to “review” anything after hearing exactly what Kuiper clearly said.
To recap, Kuiper was on the air Friday night recounting his experience visiting earlier in the day the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, where the Athletics were playing against the Royals.
Standing beside fellow broadcaster Dallas Braden, Kuiper gushed about how the two of them “had a phenomenal day” before he gestured with his thumb up and cited the “nigger league museum” as a prime example.
Braden, apparently not noticing the racist slur being said by his broadcast partner, can be seen shaking his head in earnest while pounding his chest in agreement with Kuiper.
The outrage was immediate, especially on social media. But it would still take until the following day for Kuiper to issue an apology. Kuiper, who has worked in that same capacity for 20 seasons, said his words “didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to” and asked for people to accept his “sincerest apologies.”
The president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, a Black man, similarly asked for Kuiper to be forgiven.
On Saturday, a tweet purported to show footage from a game Kuiper was calling in 2020 in which the announcer can be heard talking about “nigger league uniforms.”
Chances are that none of the above will help MLB’s stated efforts to attract more Black American players.
The sympathy and willingness to give Kuiper the benefit of the doubt for saying the N-word on air stands in stark contrast to the swift firing of a white Mississippi news anchor who uttered a slang derivative of the N-word during a telecast in March.
In that instance, Barbie Bassett said, “fo’ shizzle, my nizzle,” after her co-hosts joked about a possible Snoop Dogg collaboration on the news show for NBC affiliate WLBT.
Bassett was fired behind the offense because “nizzle” is a form of the N-word.
The incident drew attention to Bassett previously making reference to a Black reporter’s “grandmammy” on air, prompting her apology.
This is America.
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