MJD covered this over the weekend, but we really feel like we had to weigh in: We have absolutely no idea what was racist about what Steve Lyons was fired for saying during Friday's A's-Tigers broadcast.
This is not to imply that we don't think Lyons should have been fired. He should have. In fact, it might have been nice if he had not only been fired, but perhaps tickled in the public square until he urinated on himself. But that's neither here nor there.
The real question involves his remarks. We're not saying they weren't racist; we're just saying we don't have the foggiest idea of what Lyons was talking about. To quote the exchange, from the New York Times article:
Piniella said that expecting similar production (from A's shortstop Marco Scutaro) would be "like finding a wallet on a Friday night and looking for one on Sunday and Monday, too." Four minutes later, they had moved to different subjects and Piniella said something in Spanish. "The bilingual Lou Piniella," Brennaman said. Lyons said: "Lou's habla'ing some Espa ol there, and I'm still looking for my wallet. I don't understand him and I don't want to sit close to him now." The three laughed and continued calling the game.
That is racist in the same way that "the Asian man ate some food and boy, isn't food great, folks? You know what else is great? Candles!" is. That is to say: It is nonsensical babble. If you started firing sports broadcasters for nonsensical babble, well, jeez, maybe Vin Scully would be left ... but probably not.
Please do not take this as a defense of Steve Lyons. At all.
Lyons Fired [Associated Press]
He Definitely Won't Have To Sit Next To Lou Piniella Anymore [Deadspin]
(UPDATE: Gelf Magazine has a good roundup of Lyons reaction.)