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.”
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.