Radio Host Larry Krueger Fired for “Racist” Comments

Radio host Larry Krueger, his program manager, and producer were fired last night by KNBR in the wake of Krueger’s controversial remarks about “brain-dead Caribbean hitters.”

Giants’ flagship radio station fires host, two officials (ESPN)

The San Francisco Giants’ flagship radio station fired controversial talk-show host Larry Krueger and two station officials Tuesday night, six days after Krueger made racially tinged criticisms of the club and manager Felipe Alou.
Tony Salvadore, KNBR’s vice president and general manager, announced the firings of Krueger, program manager Bob Agnew and KNBR Morning Show producer Tony Rhein in a brief statement.

Salvadore said the firings were related to “inappropriate comedy sound bytes” played Tuesday morning during a discussion of Alou’s recent interview with ESPN in which he roundly criticized KNBR and Krueger, who was suspended last Friday. Sara Jones, a spokesperson for the station, declined to discuss the content of the comedy sound bytes.

Last week, Krueger ranted about the Giants’ struggles during his postgame radio show. San Francisco has too many “brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly,” according to Krueger, and Alou’s “mind has turned to Cream of Wheat.” Krueger apologized and was suspended for a week without pay, but Salvadore maintained the host wouldn’t be fired.

[…]

Saying Krueger had offended “hundreds of millions of people,” Alou resigned from his regular radio show with the station and warned his players to be on the lookout for racial prejudice in San Francisco. Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and Boston slugger David Ortiz also condemned the comments in recent days.

But most of the hosts and callers to KNBR in recent days supported Krueger, saying some of his remarks were made in the heat of excitement, while others were taken out of context by Alou. Krueger seemed supportive of Alou during many of the comments in his rant, saying the manager was “a brilliant tactician” whose job was nearly impossible because of the Giants’ personnel decisions.

Gary Radnich, a San Francisco television sportscaster who has hosted a weekday show on KNBR since 1992, appeared visibly upset by the firings when he appeared on his evening newscast. “Felipe Alou got rolling, got a head of steam up, and in this politically correct world, you don’t get a second chance any more,” Radnich said. He also characterized Agnew as a “sacrificial lamb.”

KNBR owns approximately 1.5 percent of the Giants, who lost 7-1 to the Braves in Atlanta on Tuesday night. “KNBR deeply regrets the comments and actions of these individuals, which do not reflect our beliefs or values as an organization,” Salvadore said in the statement. “We would like to express our deepest apologies to Felipe Alou, his players and the Giants organization for this offense to the Caribbean community.”

I haven’t heard the bits from Tuesday morning, so can’t comment on them.

Krueger’s comments of last week, when I initially read them, appeared well within the bounds of propriety; they were somewhat more suspect when I heard the sound clip. Still, absent some previous history of racial animus of which I’m unaware, they don’t warrant the storm of controversy that has ensued, let alone people losing their livelihoods.

Previously: Giants Radio Host Larry Krueger Suspended for “Racial Remarks”

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Yeah, this seems like typical weirdo San Francisco nonsense. These people are REQUIRED to stir up controversy and say over-the-top things. Then when soomeone gets offended, the “R” word gets thrown around. Lame.

  2. ICallMasICM says:

    Baseball factoid re: the Giants

    Since Roger Maris 61 homers have been bettered 6 times. What is the common link between the playes that have hit more homers in a season than Maris?

    A:?

  3. San Francisco, the seat of liberalism on the west coast, which is always speaking of tolerance, but the people there can’t practice what they preach when its a white guy involved. Had it been a black rodio show host saying something like “White guys can’t jump” you would have seen 100% tolerance then.
    Let it be known out there that San Francisco Giants Manager Fekipe Alou refused to accept Larry Krueger’s apology last Friday, 8/5/2005.

  4. dw says:

    If you’re going to lay this at the feet of them EEVL COMMUNISTS of the Bay Area, then explain to me why Steve Stone was fired last year.

    Now take off your right-leaning Insta-Outrage (TM) glasses and read what Krueger said again.

    Laying aside the “Carribean” line, doesn’t Krueger’s comment look an awful lot like what Stone said?

    Teams have been doing this for YEARS. You criticize the team, you’re gone. The Giants are KNBR’s bread and butter. To speak ill of your bread and butter is a very, very bad thing.

    I mean, if you were to go on the radio and said your company’s personnel manager had Cream Of Wheat for brains, think you’d still have a job?

    The racial outrage is way overblown. The key thing here is that Krueger took Alou to task for not managing well and the team for not knowing how to take a pitch. As a result, he’s out of a job. SOP in baseball nowadays.

  5. James Joyner says:

    dw:

    An interesting argument, although the “criticizing the team” angle is not what’s been emphasized in any of the reporting I’ve seen and does not appear the basis of Alou’s resignation from his KNBR job.

    I’m only tangentially familiar with the Stone case. It’s not as if KNBR is the equivalent of WGN to the Cubs or WTBS to the Braves, though. While they have a tiny ownership interest, they aren’t the main ownership.

    And frankly generating controversy is often an excellent way to get viewers to tune in. It’s not as if the Giants’ sterling play is a reason. Minus Barry Bonds’ shots into McCovey Cove, they’re rather boring now that they’re out of the hunt.

  6. anjin-san says:

    Guess its more fun to rant about “the peoples republic” of SF then to discuss the goings on in Bush’s splendid little democracy in Iraq. (See previous thread).

  7. Bill Quick says:

    It’s got nothing to do with criticizing the team. It’s just Felipe Alou, nepotist extraordinaire, playing a phony race card to cover up the fact that he has, well, Cream of Wheat for brains.

    A more interesting question is why professional sports teams of all sorts keep hiring obvious incompetents and losers to run their clubs? The Niners just got rid of one – and, of course, they shipped the best coach in football to Denver because Bill Walsh couldn’t stand the competition.

  8. ICallMasICM says:

    Nobody wants to answer my question – so i’ll do it.

    A: They were all juiced up when they hit more than Maris did. And the reason that’s relevant is now Barry can’t play because of testing or withdrawal or whatever and the Giants suck and all of the sudden Felipe’s an idiot. The Giants got by for a few years with a lot of retreads and role players because they had Barry and Jeff Kent in the middle of the order and decent pitching. Maybe dusty was a better manager than Alou but when you lose you tend to have a lot of other problems that winning takes care of. Like this one.

  9. FLO DOUGLAS says:

    I HAVE HEARD TOO MUCH ABOUT THE LARRY KRUEGER COMMENTS. RADIO TALK SHOW HOST OFTEN SECOND GUESS MANAGERS AND PLAYERS, AND THATS OKAY. HOWEVER, WHEN RACIAL REMARKS ARE MADE THATS A DIFFERENT THING. I AM SO TIRED OF THESE WHITE GUYS ON RADIO AND TV, MAKING RACIAL REMARKS, AND I AM GLAD SOMETHING HAS FINALLY BEEN DONE. MAYBE NEXT TIME THEY WILL THINK BEFORE THEY SPEAK.

  10. Bob says:

    The brain-dead Caribbean ball-players Krueger was talking about were Deivi Cruz and Pedro Feliz. He should have specified. Lest anyone think he was talking about all Caribbeans, later in the show he ripped the Giants’ front office for not going after Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Tejada, both Dominicans.

    But if we’re talking about hyperbole, what about Krueger being “the messenger of Satan”? After Krueger and two others were fired, Alou said this, “God does not allow anyone to make fun of his children or laugh at his children. God won’t tolerate that. It’s ridiculous that all of this was brought about by those guys. I didn’t start this. He [Krueger, aka, “Messenger of Satan”] did. Anybody who wants to repent after making a statement like that has to understand that payback is going to come sooner or later.”

    So I guess God is speaking through Felipe Alou about payback. Those of you who climbed on the Felipe Alou bandwagon may want to listen to the tune he’s playing.

  11. Sp says:

    Since when was brain dead considered racist? And don’t give me the whole “well it was the context that it was used in” crap. These are professional athletes and as such they are going to be criticized, if these players are doing poorly then they are going to be pointed out. People need to stop wearing there feelings on there sleeves. If Krueger had said ” I am sick of the brain dead white players hacking at all the slop” Would he still have a job? You bet!!!!

  12. DC says:

    OK, let’s get something straight: While Steve Stone may have offended the Cubs with his criticisms, he was not fired. In fact, WGN made him a contract offer to remain with the team, but he rejected it because he was upset that the station did not try harder to keep Chip Caray from taking a job with the Braves.
    As for Larry Krueger, it’s easy to understand why Felipe Alou was so upset, but he also made a mountain out of something less than a mole hill.
    He stated on ESPN that he DID NOT want Krueger to lose his job, but his comments before and since that interview made it perfectly clear that was exactly the outcome he sought.
    Krueger did not criticize every Latin ballplayer with his comments, merely the ones on the Giants.
    Were his comments stupid? Of course they were. But he has — make that had — been on KNBR for about eight years. I suspect had he been a flaming racist in a market as sensitive to racial intolerance as is S.F. that it would have been clear long ago and he would have been gone. And Krueger also had to guts to go to SBC Park the next day to offer an apology. Felipe refused to talk to him.
    Krueger’s undoing is that he is an admitted Giants fan whose frustration with the team’s failures this season got to him. In the heat of the moment, he said something stupid.
    But Felipe Alou calling him ”the messenger of Satan” is inexcusable as well.

  13. SF says:

    Sp, you’re a moron – “Since when was brain dead considered racist?” It’s not that he called any individual brain dead, or even the insult itself. It’s that he labelled an entire region of people brain dead that makes this comment racist. You should never have dropped out of high school, dumb ass.

  14. ray says:

    I AM A LONGTIME LISTENER OF LARRY KRUEGER’S SHOW,I HAVE LISTENED THE ENTIRE 8 YEARS HE WAS ON THE AIR.IN THAT AMOUNT OF TIME HE HAS NEVER OFFENDED ME, ALTHOUGH I HAVE DISAGREED WITH HIS SPORTS POINT OF VIEW OCCASIONALLY.RGARDING THE COMMENTS ABOUT THE GIANTS &THIER LATIN PLAYERS HE SIMPLY USED A POOR CHOICE OF WORDS ,AND THIS IS COMING FROM A 33 YEAR OLD BLACK MALE.TO PUT IT PLAIN &SIMPLE LARRY SHOULD NOT HAVE BEN FIRED,HIS SUSPENSION SHOULD HAVE BEEN LONGER BUT HE SHOULD HAVE KEPT HIS JOB.

  15. Kevin says:

    Bob on Aug 11 is on the right track. Too many exitable people are jumping to conclusions when calling this a race issue. If anything Krueger was being a “regionist”. I have seen white residents of the caribbean as well. The people he was talking about was Devi Cruz and Pedro Feliz. Two caribbean hitters that looked very bad that night. I was at the game in question and I was calling them morons too. Does that mean I am a raceist.

    PS: DW is wrong about the giants being KNBRs bread and butter. The station only owns 1.5 percent of the team. The Giants need KNBR more than KNBR needs the team. KNBR broadcasts every major league team in the bay area except the A’s. If the Giants and KNBR parted ways I would expect to hear the A’s as soon as they could plug them in. KNBR is in a unique position of being a radio superstation. At night the signal can be picked up in Montana. They are not too worried what the Giants think about Larry Krueger. KNBR sells air, the higher profile the on air talent is, the more money they get. The Filipe Alou show was a top earner for ad revinue. Larry Krueger did not generate as much money as the ball players do so he is expendible. If it was the other way around, KNBR would promote Larry as the the posterchild for free speach rights.

  16. KC says:

    SF, cool your jets (re: Sp’s post). Larry hardly “labelled an entire region of people brain dead” as you said. He wasn’t talking about everyone in the Caribbean region, he was talking about a couple of ballplayers – yes, ballplayers, making millions of dollars a year and swinging their bats at every bit of crap that comes their way. If that isn’t brain dead, I don’t know what is. . .unless of course it is jumping to irrational conclusions about another human being without really knowing any of the facts yourself simply because you don’t agree with their point of view.

  17. aj says:

    Larry Krueger didn’t make the smartest choice of words but at least if you’re going to talk about them, you should know the context. The articles have done a bad job of this, and the commentaries are even worse. If you actually listened, or read a transcript, you would realize:

    (1) Re Alou’s Cream of Wheat brain, he didn’t say it as disparagingly as you would think. He said that all of the management’s lousy player moves have made it so difficult for Alou to manage that his brain has turned to Cream of Wheat trying to do it. He separately complimented his management skills. Not such a bad thing at all.

    (2) Re brain-dead Carribeans, he wasn’t referring to all Carribeans this way. He was referring to the Carribeans in the Giants’ line-up and their practice of swinging at bad pitches. He wasn’t saying they were brain-dead in general or brain-dead because they were Carribean. Just brain-dead for swinging at bad pitches. Stupid choice of words, though–he should have just said their names rather than grouping them together as “Carribeans”. I doubt he realized that it would sound the way that it did, probably because he doesn’t think in a racist way about Carribeans and just thought of “Carribean” as a descriptive label, a shortcut for referring to several players. (Like someone else said, he later criticized management for not trying to bring other, better Carribean players onto the team, so he’s obviously not anti-Dominican). But other people with more knowledge of the history of discrimination probably legitimately felt stung by it. Just another reason that we should all stop labeling people by their national or racial origins.

    Too bad for Larry Krueger and his family that he was in such a sensitive market and that the ownership of his station is mixed up with the ownership of the Giants. There should have been some way to solve this without putting what seems like a decent, talented guy out of a job. You never heard anything other than that he wanted to apologize. We should use incidents like this to teach rather than to condemn. I’m sure he would have learned his lesson without the ultimate punishment. It’s SF’s loss.

  18. sportsfan says:

    I am sure that KNBR paid the three radio men to leave, so they were compensated,to an extent. What is unknown is, can they continue in their careers in radio; the men were in unique jobs that are not easily duplicated, and even with some mini golden parachutes, this is not good for them financially.

    It is funny to hear Alou beat his chest about how bad it is in the US; if it is bad in the US, it is not because of these radio men, and I bet Alou’s home, healthcare, and wealth are far ahead in his USA lifestyle than they ever would be in his native DR….I would respect ALou more is he would have just ignored the radio men-one way or the other, what people of no import say on the radio nowadays should not bring about the wrath we have seen-ignore them and move on! Alou’s response made this more of a story than it had to be ( I have yet to hear him criticize Barry for any reason whatsoever, I wonder why ).