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View Full Version : Fox fires announcer Steve Lyons for "racially insensitive" comments



savafan
10-17-2006, 12:49 PM
http://breakingnews.redstate.com/blogs/steven_foley/2006/oct/16/steve_lyons_victim_of_the_speech_police

Fox baseball broadcaster Steve Lyons has been fired for making a racially insensitive comment directed at colleague Lou Piniella's Hispanic heritage on the air during Game 3 of the American League championship series.

As he worked Friday's American League Championship Series Game 3 with Lou Piniella, Lyons made a comment about not being able to find his wallet and not wanting to "sit too close" to Piniella.

The supposed relevance of that, assuming one is intent in finding logic in any of this? Piniella, who has a Hispanic heritage, had earlier compared the good play of a Hispanic player to the good luck of finding a wallet. And thus Lyons, who spoke of "habla-ing Espanol" after Piniella said a few words in Spanish, seemed to be suggesting a convoluted connection between Hispanics and stealing wallets.

Not true, Lyons said: "My joke was about a wallet. It had nothing to do with race. We were all laughing at the time. I'm being painted as a victimizer of Lou. At dinner later (with Fox announcers and production staffers), we all thought it was one of our better exchanges." (Sunday, Fox spokesman Dan Bell declined to respond to any of Lyons' comments.)

Midway through that dinner, Lyons said, he got a call from Fox saying he was off Saturday's ALCS Game 4, for which he was replaced by Los Angeles Angels announcer Jose Mota, who's worked 15-20 regular-season games for Fox

Lyons said “he believes people are taking a lot of liberty with what I said," and that “he was making a joke that had nothing to do with race;" that it's a "real stretch" to find racism in the on-air exchange that cost him his job, "and anybody who knows me knows it was the furthest from anything racist."

traderumor
10-17-2006, 12:53 PM
I still haven't figured out exactly what he said that was offensive enough to result in firing. It wasn't anywhere near Cosell's "look at that monkey run" as O.J. sprinted on a long run.

Roy Tucker
10-17-2006, 01:03 PM
Lyons was on a run of saying stupid things.

Piniella mentioned something about genuflecting before an at-bat and Lyons said "I don't know what that is, but I don't like the sound of it".

When Lyons said all that wallet stuff, I just winced and fiigured there would be some kind of fallout from it. I think Fox finally canned him to spare us viewers any further inanities or blatherings.

savafan
10-17-2006, 01:07 PM
At least he didn't drop his pants in the booth.

redsupport
10-17-2006, 01:09 PM
He is a full fledged mediocrity who adds nothing

killuminati35
10-17-2006, 01:48 PM
He has always seemed like a goof that network exec's thought we fans liked for some reason, but in reality just get annoyed with.

terminator
10-17-2006, 01:50 PM
Maybe I would have been more offended if I had known that Piniella was Hispanic . . .

Anyway, Buck, McCarver & Gonzalez have been much better than Brennaman, Lyons and Piniella IMHO. The latter were painful to listen to.

westofyou
10-17-2006, 01:54 PM
Maybe I would have been more offended if I had known that Piniella was Hispanic . .

I knew it... but I also knew that he was the first player to come to bat in Kansas City Royals history.

Can't remember where I learned it though.

RedsManRick
10-17-2006, 01:58 PM
I heard his explanation on Mike & Mike this morning, and it does sound like a case of unfortunate timing. It's not that he did anything in bad taste, just made an untimely reference to a previous comment. Pinella was talking about how luck on the field was like finding a wallet and moments later Lyons was making a joke about Pinella finding his wallet. Perhaps stupid of Lyons to not be aware of the timing of his comment, but it doesn't seem to be mean spirited or racially driven.

Fire him for being a bad announcer, not making "racist" statements.

RANDY IN INDY
10-17-2006, 01:59 PM
They should fire McCarver. I think his ship sailed a while back.

Roy Tucker
10-17-2006, 02:02 PM
I knew it... but I also knew that he was the first player to come to bat in Kansas City Royals history.

Can't remember where I learned it though.

Not that it has anything to do with anything, but I have this baseball card...

http://www.vintagecardtraders.org/virtual/64topps/64topps-167.jpg

Redny
10-17-2006, 02:04 PM
I still haven't figured out exactly what he said that was offensive enough to result in firing. It wasn't anywhere near Cosell's "look at that monkey run" as O.J. sprinted on a long run.


I thought he was remarking about Alvin Garrett, a Redskins receiver.

redsupport
10-17-2006, 02:09 PM
Mike Brumley was tremendous

westofyou
10-17-2006, 02:20 PM
Not that it has anything to do with anything, but I have this baseball card...

http://www.vintagecardtraders.org/virtual/64topps/64topps-167.jpg

Freaking great card, especially since Lou never played for the Senators.

My first introduction to Lou as a human being (not just a player) comes on page 11 of Ball Four, where Bouton recants a story how the 26 year old Piniella is afraid to not report (there was a lockout) for fear it would be a bad mark against him.

Lou knew that the 4 expansion teams was his chance to get out of the minors... but Lou stood by the union and decided the hell with it he ain't going in, this is despite only having 6 MLB ab's.

TeamBoone
10-17-2006, 02:30 PM
The picture on that card doesn't look even slightly like Lou, even when he was young. Are you sure it's him?

westofyou
10-17-2006, 02:31 PM
The picture on that card doesn't look even slightly like Lou, even when he was young. Are you sure it's him?

That's Lou, age of 20... a mere babe in the woods.

redsupport
10-17-2006, 02:43 PM
what about Brumley he was the key

westofyou
10-17-2006, 02:48 PM
what about Brumley he was the key

Mike split time catching in 65 with Doug Camilli, Dolph's son.

RFS62
10-17-2006, 02:49 PM
He is a full fledged mediocrity who adds nothing

Lyons wasn't fired for being an overt racist. He was fired for being an overt idiot.

A mediocrity indeed. The Salieri of the broadcast booth.

SultanOfSwing
10-17-2006, 02:50 PM
The picture on that card doesn't look even slightly like Lou, even when he was young. Are you sure it's him?
I can definitely see the resemblance.

http://www.thehollandsentinel.net/images/111501/s.jpg

Roy Tucker
10-17-2006, 02:51 PM
Brumley was a Oklahoma Univ. grad, he resembles another OU person...

http://www.footballspeakers.com/i/switzer_barry.jpg

M2
10-17-2006, 02:56 PM
I still haven't figured out exactly what he said that was offensive enough to result in firing. It wasn't anywhere near Cosell's "look at that monkey run" as O.J. sprinted on a long run.

"little monkey" and it was Alvin Garrett.

Seems to me like he was just trying to put a friendly dig into Lou Piniella. Mind you he mangled it, but the mangling meant he didn't utter an understandable sentence let alone something racist. Perhaps that's the trouble he ran into. He couldn't even explain what he meant after he said it.

Then again, what do I know? I liked Lyons well enough. I like Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan too.

traderumor
10-17-2006, 04:03 PM
"little monkey" and it was Alvin Garrett.

Seems to me like he was just trying to put a friendly dig into Lou Piniella. Mind you he mangled it, but the mangling meant he didn't utter an understandable sentence let alone something racist. Perhaps that's the trouble he ran into. He couldn't even explain what he meant after he said it.

Then again, what do I know? I liked Lyons well enough. I like Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan too.Oops, thanks for the correction on Cosell's gaffe.

Chip R
10-17-2006, 04:08 PM
Fire him for being a bad announcer, not making "racist" statements.


Al Capone was sent to jail for tax evasion.

fewfirstchoice
10-17-2006, 04:12 PM
People cant say anything these days.You have to watch everything you say and I just think this is a sad state of affairs for people who have no sense of humor.

I mean I agree he isnt a good broadcaster,but he said nothing out of the way at all.

Aceking
10-17-2006, 04:20 PM
When an announcer gets fired... it's generally for one of two things. He/She either said one thing that was really really awful... or it's a last straw kind of thing.

I think with Lyons they'd just had enough. The Pinella thing on top of saying this about Sean Green's decision to sit out a game for Yom Kippur:

"He’s not even a practicing Jew. He didn’t marry a Jewish girl. And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, which is unfortunate because he doesn’t get the money."

Was probably enough for them.

Redsland
10-17-2006, 04:53 PM
I think Steve Lyons was just bred that way.

:)

RedsManRick
10-17-2006, 04:56 PM
When an announcer gets fired... it's generally for one of two things. He/She either said one thing that was really really awful... or it's a last straw kind of thing.

I think with Lyons they'd just had enough. The Pinella thing on top of saying this about Sean Green's decision to sit out a game for Yom Kippur:

"He’s not even a practicing Jew. He didn’t marry a Jewish girl. And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, which is unfortunate because he doesn’t get the money."

Was probably enough for them.

Said he borrowed the joke from a Rabbi and even ran it past a few jewish coworkers to get the go ahead. Seems like he just didn't get the difference between be a MLB announer and having his own talk radio show. When your audience is wide and varied, you have to toe the line a bit.

gm
10-17-2006, 05:43 PM
I knew it... but I also knew that he was the first player to come to bat in Kansas City Royals history.

Can't remember where I learned it though.

excerpt from Ball Four...Piniella spoke Spanish and unaccented English

(which apparently did not impress Joe Schultz)

gonelong
10-17-2006, 08:07 PM
I still haven't figured out exactly what he said that was offensive enough to result in firing. It wasn't anywhere near Cosell's "look at that monkey run" as O.J. sprinted on a long run.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Cosell

Cosell drew criticism during one Monday Night Football telecast in September (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983#September) 1983 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_NFL_season), for calling a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Redskins), Alvin Garrett (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Garrett), a "little monkey." While some saw the term as having a racial connotation, many who knew Cosell were quick to point out that he used this term routinely in an approving way to describe quicker, smaller players of all ethnicities. Among the evidence to support this claim is video footage of a 1972 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_NFL_season) preseason game, between the New York Giants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Giants) and the Kansas City Chiefs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City_Chiefs), that features Cosell referring to Mike Adamle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Adamle), a 5-foot-9-inch, 197-pound Caucasian, as a "little monkey."


GL

He's Dunn It
10-18-2006, 11:05 PM
Tim McCarver offends me about every four minutes when he opens his mouth.

I can only hope Fox will someday fire him.

Chip R
10-18-2006, 11:35 PM
Tim McCarver offends me about every four minutes when he opens his mouth.

I can only hope Fox will someday fire him.


The Shea Stadium PA was playing "Volare" at one point during an at bat. McCarver said, "Pizza, anyone?" If you're going to fire Lyons for what he said, it's only fair to fire McCarver for that.

George Foster
10-19-2006, 12:00 AM
I thought Pinella was Italian...who knew? I think people are way to P.C. Lyons got screwed. If they wanted to fire him....fine fire him, but don't lable him a racist. I think it was a good excuse to let him go.

Always Red
10-19-2006, 11:22 AM
Lyons wasn't fired for being an overt racist. He was fired for being an overt idiot.

A mediocrity indeed. The Salieri of the broadcast booth.

Agreed.

Except that's quite an insult to Antonio Salieri, who was indeed a mediocrity, as compared to Wolfgang Mozart (but then, who wasn't?). But not when compared to the rest of the composers and conductors of his era.;)

Lyons, on the other hand, is a prime example of what the "old boys network" that TC spoke of his podcast, can do for one's career. That means he'll land on his feet sometime, somewhere in the game. And I have no problem with that at all, either. The man should have been quietly let go after this year for being mediocre, not to make some ridiculous example of him.

Racism is always wrong, of course.

This episode reminds me somewhat of the official (staffer) who was fired for using the word "niggardly" in a staff meeting. He was surprised to find that the word offended some, and immediately explained the word, and apologized for any offense taken. No matter, he was fired. Once the DC mayor who fired him actually had it pointed out to him (by the NAACP) what the word meant, he tried to give him his job back; the man refused, as I recall.

Of course, it's not quite the same, because Lyons, IMO, is nowhere near as intelligent as the man who uttered the racist-sounding word. But it is a good lesson is showing how far PC behavior has gone.