Every time I think Major League Baseball is taking steps to become a more inclusive and welcoming sport for Black people, someone involved or associated with the sport does something inherently racist to turn me off to it again.
On Friday, during a live pregame broadcast of a matchup between the Oakland A’s and the Kansas City Royals, the Athletics play-by-play announcer Glen Kuiper spoke about what he and his co-host, Dallas Braden, did while in Kansas City.
“We had a phenomenal day today. Nigger League Museum and Arthur Bryant’s BBQ,” said Kuiper.
Um, do you mean the Negro League Baseball Museum? The place in Kansas City that tells the incredible story of Negro League Baseball and how players such as Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard impacted it?
There are multiple problems with this clip, so let me list them here:
- It’s called the Negro League Baseball Museum, not the “Nigger League Museum.”
- Why did it come out so effortlessly? He said it without hesitation. It didn’t even seem like he made a mistake.
- Why did his co-host, Dallas Braden, not skip a beat? He just kept nodding his head and even bumped his chest like nothing happened.
After a commercial break, Kuiper seemed to realize the error of his ways and issued an apology, saying, “I said something that didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to. I just wanted to apologize if it sounded different than I meant it to be said. I just wanted to apologize for that.”
What other way did you want it to be interpreted?! You said, Nigger League Museum, there’s only one way for viewers and listeners to take that in.
Oakland A’s communications also apologized for Kuiper’s words, writing in a tweet, “The language used by Glen Kuiper during today’s pregame broadcast is unacceptable. The Oakland Athletics do not condone such language. We are working to address the situation.”
The most ironic part of this whole situation is that days after, the president of the Kansas City museum, Bob Kendrick, announced plans to expand the campus of the historical museum. Thankfully, an NBC Sports California spokesperson has since announced that Kiper, “has been suspended and will be off the air until a review of Friday’s incident is completed.” But will that solve the issue? Yay, he won’t say the N-word anymore on live television. What does he say when he’s not on air? What does he say when he’s around friends?
Racism isn’t something that people can just apologize for and then move on with their lives. Something else must be done about it.