Peak Absurdity: Oakland A's Broadcaster Suspended for Slip of the Tongue

Veteran broadcaster Glen Kuiper was suspended for a slip of the tongue. (Credit: NBC Sports)

A veteran Oakland A’s broadcaster was suspended after saying a bad word on live television on Friday. During a broadcast of the team’s game against the Kansas City Royals,  Athletics play-by-play broadcaster Glen Kuiper uttered the dreaded “N” word, which if you’re a middle-aged white man in America is akin to shouting “Please cancel me and my life!” at the top of your lungs from a rooftop.


On Saturday, he was summarily suspended. There are only a few words you simply cannot say in American life: the “C” word, the “N” word, and that name of “He Who Must Not Be Named.” (Addendum, you can say the “N” word copiously if you are a rapper. However, if you are a listener singing along to one of their songs, you must skip over those parts. Those are the rules; I didn’t make them.)

Here’s the thing: Kuiper clearly experienced a slip of the tongue. I can see almost no rational argument that he did it on purpose. Judge for yourself:

Warning: Triggering language ahead

The slip-up happened during pre-game coverage as the 20-year veteran was describing what he and his broadcasting partner Dallas Braden were up to before the game. “We had a phenomenal day today,” he said. “N-word League Museum, and Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque.”

To any thinking person, it’s obvious that he tripped over the word Negro and had no intention of slurring anyone or denigrating anyone. Later in the game, at the top of the 6th inning, he acknowledged his faux pas:


“A little bit earlier in the show, I said something, didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to and I just wanted to apologize if it sounded different than I meant it to be said. I just wanted to apologize for that,” he told the viewing audience.

But that apparently wasn’t good enough. In today’s world, punishment must be meted out, a price must be paid—it doesn’t matter whether or not the offending act was intentional. NBC Sports California handed down the judgment from above, announcing in a statement Saturday that Kuiper will remain off the air until a review is completed. Rotating hosts will fill in as play-by-play announcers during his absence.

Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, issued a half-hearted defense of Kuiper, who had visited the museum before the game:

I’m just going to come out and say it—that’s some pretty weak sauce, Bob. Instead of defanging this “controversy” and nipping it in its bud by saying the obvious—that Kuiper slipped on a word and was not trying to lose his job and insult a racial group—Kendrick says “I don’t pretend to know what’s in Glen’s heart.”


Thanks for backing me up there, pal—not.

It’s a shame that this is where we’ve come to as a society. Some people are allowed to say a word, others are not. A broadcaster is punished for mangling a sentence, while our president can’t get through a single line without garbling something. Anyone who goes on air on television or radio already lives in fear that they’ll say something that doesn’t come off right, and now the temperature has just grown even hotter.

Yes, he said that word, and no, it’s not a word that is acceptable in most circumstances. But it’s clear that it was a simple mistake, and not something more sinister, and the outrage from the permanently aggrieved class is ridiculous and frankly appalling.

They just want to get a scalp.

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