Glen Kuiper didn’t misspeak less than three weeks ago during a pregame segment when detailing his trip to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. That hateful six-letter word doesn’t just slip out of your mouth unless you’ve used it dozens of times before and it’s part of your vernacular. Like Cale Gundy, who welcomes Kuiper into the category of being fired from a job in the sports world for using the N-word. Kuiper was given the pink slip by NBC Sports California, where he was a broadcaster for the Oakland Athletics, after he uttered that racial slur on-air before a May 5 game against the Royals.
Kuiper had been suspended by the network since that day’s broadcast where he appeared to mispronounce the word “Negro” while conversing with former MLB pitcher and colleague Dallas Braden about his trip to the museum that celebrates Black baseball players’ contributions to “America’s pastime” and beyond. Kuiper was the subject of an internal review after letting the ultra-derogatory term fly, with NBC Sports California officially announcing his axing on Monday. Kuiper has since “apologized” multiple times after his utterance, including later in what would be his final telecast of an A’s game, when his suspension was announced and after Monday’s firing.
“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.
“... 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,” he added.
A’s manager Mark Kotsay sympathizes with Kuiper
The sympathizers for Kuiper started to line up soon after NBC Sports California announced its decision, including Oakland manager Mark Kotsay, who presides over the worst team in Major League Baseball. Kotsay’s comments were as follows: “I can’t imagine being in his shoes right now. I think, personally, we missed an opportunity here maybe to use this as an educational platform. But as you said, I don’t make decisions, and this isn’t a decision I was involved in, and nor was the organization, really. This was a decision made by NBC.” Really Mark? NBC Sports California is doing exactly that. Say one of the most hateful things in the English language, you pay the consequences for it.
The word is rooted in such evil that most of America wouldn’t want to come close to saying anything that nearly resembles the N-word. And then there’s what Kuiper did, stating it without hesitation and continuing on, not knowing his mistake, likely until someone from the network got in his ear to tell him what he did. There’s no place in society, or much less baseball, for that term to be accepted. And NBC Sports California’s strong and just actions correctly display how outright rejection of the term should be treated. And I’ve been to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The N-word wasn’t plastered on the walls, but if heard in any audio clip, used as a tool of how much the Josh Gibson’s and Hank Aaron’s of the world had to overcome to be successful. It’s currently located in the heart of Kansas City’s 18th and Vine neighborhood, an important locale to this country’s African American history. And it deserves to be kept pristine, not knocked off by anyone’s “accidental” phrasing.