Bob Lamey, who has been the radio play-by-play announcer for the Indianapolis Colts for over 30 years, suddenly announced his retirement on Sunday. Yesterday, a report from 13 WTHR revealed the reason behind Lamey’s unexpected departure: he said the n-word while telling a story to a black colleague.
WTHR spoke to the colleague in question, who said Lamey used the slur while telling her a story off-air last Tuesday. She said Lamey was telling her about when he used to work at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and was describing an interview with an unnamed person. Lamey told his colleague that this person was asked if any racers were holding back their speed during qualifications, to which the person replied, “There aren’t any niggers in this race.”
Lamey’s colleague told him that it wasn’t appropriate for him to use that word in front of her. She told WTHR that Lamey immediately tried to apologize and prevent her from telling anyone about it:
He thought it was OK to use that type of language at work. He was like, ‘Oh I’m so so sorry. I’m so sorry if you’re offended by this. I didn’t mean to offend anyone’ and I was like ‘I’m black and I wouldn’t ever say that word’ and sort of just told him how it hurt me and how I don’t think he should say it ever, even if he’s telling a story,” the radio employee said. “Then once he saw my face and realized he had messed up he had started really like profusely apologizing saying ‘Please don’t tell anybody.’ When I left he said it again, ‘Please don’t tell anybody. Don’t mention this to anyone’. I think he was apologizing so much because he knows it’s wrong and he knows that people lose their jobs for that.
The next day, the employee told Emmis Communications’ HR department about the incident, and four days later, Lamey announced his retirement. Last night, Lamey’s attorney released a statement acknowledging that Lamey had used an “inappropriate word.”
A good lesson to take from this is that it’s never a good idea to use racial slurs at work.