[VIDEO] Longtime Oakland A's Broadcaster Glen Kuiper Fired Over 'Unintentional' On-Air Racial Slur

[VIDEO] Longtime Oakland A's Broadcaster Glen Kuiper Fired Over 'Unintentional' On-Air Racial SlurGetty Images
Nina Singh-Hudson
Published on May 23, 2023

Longtime Oakland Athletics play-by-play announcer Glen Kuiper has been fired by NBC Sports California after accidentally using a racial epithet on-air on May 5 during an A's broadcast, as reported by Mercury News. The decision to terminate Kuiper's contract came after the completion of an internal review by the network.

During the controversial broadcast, Kuiper had excitedly referred to a visit he and broadcast partner Dallas Braden had made to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, where the A's were playing the Royals. However, instead of saying correct name, he accidentally uttered the racial slur, which was not well-received by many listeners and quickly gained traction on social media.

WARNING! The video in this Tweet contains explicit and highly offensive language.

Kuiper, 60, was initially suspended on May 6 before ultimately being let go by the network. In a statement announcing the decision, NBC Bay Area Sports thanked Glen for his dedication to the region's baseball throughout his career, according to SF Chronicle.

Kuiper issued an on-air apology during the game where the incident happened, and he again apologized later in a statement through the network, saying he could not be more sorry and horrified by what he had said and hoping that people would accept his sincerest apologies, per TMZ.

Reactions to Kuiper's mistake and subsequent firing have been mixed, with some people defending him and others believing his dismissal was warranted. Particular standout figures in the sports world have weighed on the situation.

Following the incident, Bob Kendrick, the President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, said he was disappointed to see Kuiper fired because he made a mistake, albeit quite sensitive in nature, according to the Mercury News. Kendrick shared that Glen called him personally to apologize, highlighting that he believed Kuiper to be genuinely remorseful for his slip-up. Kendrick took to Twitter to express his feelings on forgiveness and understanding, amidst the backlash the broadcaster faced.

Similarly, former A's pitcher Dave Stewart, who is also African-American and works on NBC Bay Area broadcasts, jumped to Kuiper's defense. Echoing Kendrick's tweet, Stewart wrote, "I know Glen, have worked with him over the years. I believe it was an unfortunate mistake. He, as we all, deserve a second chance."

However, not all were quick to forgive Kuiper's mistake. ESPN analyst Ryan Clark tweeted his disbelief at the incident, stating: "Had to listen a few times! Can’t be, Huh? His co-host didn’t even flinch. They called it that all day. They just forgot they were being filmed this time. No shock, no nothing."

A's analyst Dallas Braden, who sat beside Kuiper during the controversial broadcast, later responded to criticisms that he did not react immediately to his partner's slip-up. He explained on Twitter that the nuances of live television mean that sometimes they, as broadcasters, miss some of what the audience sees and hears. Braden also expressed support and encouragement for Kuiper as he continued to work on understanding the impact and hurt caused by his unfortunate mistake, as mentioned in the SF Chronicle.

Giants announcer Mike Krukow, who has known the Kuiper family for 40 years and is the longtime broadcast partner and friend of Glen's brother Duane, commented on the situation with compassion during a segment on KNBR. Krukow acknowledged the pain and disappointment Glen's mistake had caused but also highlighted his faith in the Kuiper family's values.

Glen Kuiper's firing marks the end of his 20-year tenure as a play-by-play announcer for the Oakland A's, a career that started in 2004 as an on-field correspondent and fill-in announcer before becoming the primary television play-by-play announcer in 2006. Although his unintentional slip-up has led to the termination of his long-standing career with NBC Sports California, the divided reactions to the incident continue to bring about discussions of forgiveness, understanding, and accountability in such sensitive matters.