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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fox Fires Lyons For Racially Insensitive Comment

Fox baseball broadcaster Steve Lyons has been fired for making a racially insensitive comment directed at colleague Lou Piniella’s Hispanic heritage on the air during Game 3 of the American League championship series…

In the second inning of Friday’s game between Detroit and Oakland, Piniella talked about the success light-hitting A’s infielder Marco Scutaro had in the first round of the playoffs. Piniella said that slugger Frank Thomas and Eric Chavez needed to contribute, comparing Scutaro’s production to finding a “wallet on Friday” and hoping it happened again the next week.

Later, Piniella said the A’s needed Thomas to get “en fuego”—hot in Spanish—because he was currently “frio”—or cold. After Brennaman praised Piniella for being bilingual, Lyons spoke up.

Lyons said that Piniella was “hablaing Espanol”—butchering the conjugation for the word “to speak”—and added, “I still can’t find my wallet.”

North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: October 14, 2006 at 08:22 PM | 279 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, television

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   1. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2211495)
This is retarded. I have read this article four times and I still can't find the racially insensitive remark.
   2. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:47 PM (#2211497)
Was Lyon's insinuating that Piniella stole his wallet?
   3. Chuck Carr Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:47 PM (#2211499)
It sounds like Lyons was saying that he never had his moment of good production. I have no idea what he meant by not wanting to sit close to Pinella since he spoke Spanish. I do know that Lyons is an idiot.
   4. E., Hinske Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:47 PM (#2211501)
Had he perhaps dropped his pants and that's why he couldn't find his wallet?
   5. Robert S. Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:49 PM (#2211504)
I don't think we can underestimate the importance of:
This was not a first-time offense for Lyons
   6. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:50 PM (#2211506)
Did anyone else read the entire AP report? The line about his pants is so out of nowhere. They just snuck it in there. Hilarious.
   7. greenback calls it soccer Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:51 PM (#2211509)
Sure, FOX, fire him the one year he's not doing a Cardinals LCS. And then you'll probably fire Brennaman after realizing he's an affront to baseball fans everywhere.
   8. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:52 PM (#2211510)
This is retarded. I have read this article four times and I still can't find the racially insensitive remark.

I still can't figure out which race he was insensitive to.
   9. Chuck Carr Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:53 PM (#2211511)
Did anyone else read the entire AP report? The line about his pants is so out of nowhere. They just snuck it in there. Hilarious.

Haha I noticed that too
   10. Mbvlckd Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:55 PM (#2211513)
The pants episode is actually Lyons' most famous moment on a baseball field. It gets worked into just about every article about him. If anybody's heard of Lyons, they've heard about the pants.

That said, I think this firing is a REAL stretch. You've got to be LOOKING for offense to find it in those remarks -- and I say that as a Hispanic myself.
   11. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:56 PM (#2211514)
"Ethnically insensitive" might be more accurate. But I didn't write TFA.
   12. JMM Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:58 PM (#2211517)
Now if we can just get Lou Pinella to trick Joe Buck and Tim McCarver into saying racist things about him too, he shall truly earn the Nobel Prize for Peace (or, at least, for Noise Reduction).
   13. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:01 PM (#2211525)
Now if we can just get Lou Pinella to trick Joe Buck and Tim McCarver into saying racist things about him too, he shall truly earn the Nobel Prize for Peace (or, at least, for Noise Reduction).

Much to my surprise, there was a brief exchange about Lou's Spanish on today's broadcast. They had better stay 10-foot-pole-plus distant from that.
   14. Toolsy McClutch Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:02 PM (#2211526)
Hell, I'm just happy he's gone. He's added nothing to broadcasts since he started.
   15. bunyon Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:11 PM (#2211544)
Much to my surprise, there was a brief exchange about Lou's Spanish on today's broadcast. They had better stay 10-foot-pole-plus distant from that.

Lou can just go booth to booth, utter a few words of Spanish, and sit back and enjoy the look of abject terror on the faces of the announcers as their lackeys bring him drinks. Sorry Cubs, that will be a tough gig to beat.
   16. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:12 PM (#2211548)
I still can't figure out which race he was insensitive to.

Human?

I agree with Mbdlckd - that you'll find offense here only if you're specifically looking for it.
   17. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:13 PM (#2211550)
Much to my surprise, there was a brief exchange about Lou's Spanish on today's broadcast. They had better stay 10-foot-pole-plus distant from that.


I remember it being a vehicle for Lou to say it was a positive.

Also, Fox went straight for the Latino color man, didn't they?
   18. bunyon Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:13 PM (#2211552)
I agree with Mbdlckd - that you'll find offense here only if you're specifically looking for it.

Which may be the thing. It must be that FOX was looking for it. Maybe they can hire Reynolds.
   19. Maury Brown Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:14 PM (#2211556)
For those interested... An interview with him from this past March.

<a href="http://www.bizofbaseball.com/index.php?opti>Steve Lyons interview on The Biz of Baseball</a>
   20. Marcus Halberstam Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:15 PM (#2211557)
Lyons is a clod. Did anyone else hear it earlier in the series when Lyons asked Pinella why he took the Tampa Bay job if he enjoyed winning so much, and Pinella's response was several seconds of silence? Fox had to have been looking for excuse to unload him, for any number of reasons.
   21. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:17 PM (#2211559)
Fox went straight for the Latino color man, didn't they?

Yeah, and he's only ploddingly annoying instead of flamboyantly stupid.
   22. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:20 PM (#2211563)
In fairness to Lyons, his statement comes off mostly as his usual unfunny addled stupidity, rather than intentionally insulting.

Of course, unfunny addled stupidity should be grounds for dismissal.
   23. bibigon Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:22 PM (#2211567)
Ok, so the implication is that Lyons intentionally butchered the Spanish? Because that's really not clear from the article.

Anyone?
   24. Old Matt Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:25 PM (#2211572)
Lyons also hates Jews.
   25. Repoz Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:26 PM (#2211574)
I was sitting in my local Hispanic bar when I heard this...my friends laughed and I said he'll be fired for that.

They said no way...

Goodbye unfunny man.
   26. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2211579)
Ok, so the implication is that Lyons intentionally butchered the Spanish? Because that's really not clear from the article.

I understood it to mean that Lyons was implying that Spanish-speakers are habitual wallet thieves. But it's really not clear at all because he's such a dumbass, you can't make heads or tails of what he says.
   27. 8ball Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:28 PM (#2211580)
I don't think you particularly have to strain to see the racially insensitive aspect of that comment.

He seemed to pretty clearly imply that, since Piniella was part Hispanic, he didn't want to sit next to him lest Piniella steal his wallet.

It was dumb and ungraceful, as well, but I don't think, as some have suggested in this thread, that you can only find something offensive if you are trying to find something to be offended about.
   28. bibigon Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2211582)
Lyons also hates Jews.


Yeah, but that's hardly a fireable offense. That's like liking beer.
   29. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2211583)
Yeah, and he's only ploddingly annoying instead of flamboyantly stupid.


Dull. Very dull.

Ok, so the implication is that Lyons intentionally butchered the Spanish? Because that's really not clear from the article.

I think the idea is that he intentionally butchered the Spanish. Then, he said that he was missing his wallet after Piniella 1) made the wallet comment, and 2) spoke Spanish. The implication being, of course, that the Spanish-speaking guy would take someone's wallet. That was a lot worse than simply failing to show proper respect for the Spanish language.
   30. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:33 PM (#2211591)
It was dumb and ungraceful, as well, but I don't think, as some have suggested in this thread, that you can only find something offensive if you are trying to find something to be offended about.

The only reason I give him the benefit of the doubt (if calling him a total moron is giving him the benefit of the doubt) is that the whole statement is borderline nonsensical. I don't think he's smart enough to know what he said five words ago or what he's going to say five words from now. So he throws things out in no particular order, hoping they'll be funny, and they come out stupid and arguably offensive.
   31. bibigon Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:37 PM (#2211597)
I mean, I guess if it were clearer that he meant that Pinella stole his wallet because he was hispanic, sure, but to me, it almost reads like a non sequitur. I guess reading it doesn't convey everything, but it seems like a reach from where I'm sitting.
   32. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:37 PM (#2211598)
<bq>Lyons also hates Jews.</bq>


Yeah, but that's hardly a fireable offense. That's like liking beer.

Did I miss a running joke here?
   33. rory_b_bellows Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:38 PM (#2211600)
Lyons said that Piniella was “hablaing Espanol”—butchering the conjugation for the word “to speak”

Is this even true? Granted it's adding English to a Spanish word but it's correct (technically I guess) if you are going to use a mix of the languages. So is it wrong to use Spanish and English in the same sentence. It's like they went out of their way to confuse everyone even more than Steve Lyons is capable of doing. The only logical excuse to fire him was because of the link to Spanish speaking and wallet stealing and it's not clear from this article that that's what Lyon was implying when he said that.
   34. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:45 PM (#2211607)
I don't think you particularly have to strain to see the racially insensitive aspect of that comment.

Since numerous people have said that they can't find it at all -- and I agree -- I think it's clear that one does have to strain to see it.

"Racially insensitive" is one of those weasel phrases that allow people to throw around accusations without having to be concrete, or have any real evidence. If one calls someone racist, people expect that one can demonstrate actual racial animosity on the part of the accused. But "insensitivity"? One doesn't even have to show intent; one can just claim to be offended.
   35. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:46 PM (#2211608)
The upshot of this whole kerfuffle is that justice has been done, possibly on unjust grounds. As a big picture kind of guy, I'll take it.
   36. ian Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:51 PM (#2211611)
Since numerous people have said that they can't find it at all -- and I agree -- I think it's clear that one does have to strain to see it.

It was extremely obvious to myself and the group of people I was watching the game with. How many people watched the segment on TV, instead of simply reading the article?
   37. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:52 PM (#2211613)
Since numerous people have said that they can't find it at all -- and I agree -- I think it's clear that one does have to strain to see it.


It was quite apparent to me what the implication was and why people would be upset about it, despite the ambiguity of the statements.

Then again, I went to college in Berkeley. We are <s>trained</s> bludgeoned over the head until we notice these things.
   38. 8ball Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:53 PM (#2211614)
Since numerous people have said that they can't find it at all -- and I agree -- I think it's clear that one does have to strain to see it.

"Racially insensitive" is one of those weasel phrases that allow people to throw around accusations without having to be concrete, or have any real evidence. If one calls someone racist, people expect that one can demonstrate actual racial animosity on the part of the accused. But "insensitivity"? One doesn't even have to show intent; one can just claim to be offended.


I don't feel like I had to strain to see it, nor am I one who sees racial issues lurking behind every comment.

That said, I don't necessarily disagree with your comment about racial insensitivity being a troublingly nebulous term.

But there does appear to be some intent by Lyons to make a reference to Piniella's heritage in a negative stereotypical way. I don't think Lyons could reasonably claim that Hispanics shouldn't be offended by a suggestion that one has to watch one's wallet around them, because they are likely to steal it.

On the other hand, if it were Joe Buck or Tim McCarver -- someone Fox seems more attached to -- who said the same thing, they probably wouldn't have been fired.
   39. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:54 PM (#2211615)
Then again, I went to college in Berkeley. We are <s>trained</s> bludgeoned over the head until we notice these things.

It worked in the preview...

Then again, I went to college in Berkeley. We are <strike>trained</strike> bludgeoned over the head until we notice these things.
   40. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: October 14, 2006 at 10:57 PM (#2211617)
39 posts and no one has mentioned that he should have his kids taken away?

You should all have your kids taken away.
   41. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:01 PM (#2211621)
39 posts and no one has mentioned that he should have his kids taken away?

He was taken away from us. We consider that sufficient.
   42. rr Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:02 PM (#2211624)
Here's a longer excerpt:


"I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit too close to him now," Lyons continued.

Fox executives told Lyons after the game he had been fired.

Piniella, approached before Saturday's Game 4, declined to comment on the situation except to say: "No, he's not here today."

This was not a first-time offense for Lyons, nicknamed "Psycho" during his nine-year big league career as a utilityman that ended in 1993 with the Boston Red Sox.

Hired when Fox began broadcasting baseball in 1996, Lyons was suspended without pay in late September 2004 after his remarks about Shawn Green of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Green is Jewish and elected not to play one of the two games at San Francisco that took place during the Yom Kippur holiday.

The network apologized for Lyons' remarks at the time.

Earlier in the playoffs, while working the Mets-Dodgers NLDS, Lyons unwittingly made fun of a nearly blind fan who was wearing special glasses to see the game.

"He's got a digital camera stuck to his face," Lyons said.


Guy seems to have a pattern of saying dumb things on TV that might offend people. And he is easy to replace.
   43. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2211626)
And he is easy to replace.

Dead air would be a major improvement.
   44. Buzzards Bay Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:12 PM (#2211640)
i was watching it and didn't understand the "I don't want to sit too close to him now"
NSCEGF i'm a UCSC grad and that is Banana Slug terra firma..
   45. Howie Menckel Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:17 PM (#2211648)
Huh, I figured the idea was that Lyons was pretending to be offended because Piniella spoke some Spanish words, and therefore Lyons didn't want to sit near someone who doesn't speak only English.
But even that was just a guess.
It's so nonsensical all the way that it's incredible someone could be fired for it, though. As noted, this is the "we'll get Al Capone for tax evasion" way to try to meet a desired endgame in any way possible, I imagine.
   46. rr Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:19 PM (#2211653)
"I don't want to sit too close to him now"

I think the interpretation was:

"I don't want to sit too close to him now" = he's Hispanic and might take my wallet since they do that

But I agree with #30:

I don't think he's smart enough to know what he said five words ago or what he's going to say five words from now. So he throws things out in no particular order, hoping they'll be funny, and they come out stupid and arguably offensive.

And, like the article says, Lyons has pulled a few things like this.
   47. rr Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2211666)
I think the interpretation here would be:

Lyons said that Piniella was “hablaing Espanol”= speak English in the booth instead of that hablaEspanol crap.
   48. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:27 PM (#2211682)
I don't think Lyons could reasonably claim that Hispanics shouldn't be offended by a suggestion that one has to watch one's wallet around them, because they are likely to steal it.

I agree that people -- not just Hispanics -- would reasonably be offended at the claim that Hispanics are likely to steal wallets, but I can't imagine how anybody could think that's what he was saying. It was <u>Piniella</u> who brought up the thought of him 'finding' wallets; Lyons was joking that Piniella -- not "Hispanics" -- is likely to steal a wallet.

My point isn't merely that "insensitivity" is nebulous, but that the accusation is bogus. Either Lyons really meant to imply what you interpret his words to mean -- in which case the comments are racist, not "insensitive" -- or he didn't, and you're misinterpreting them -- in which case he didn't really do anything wrong at all (beyond his usual lack of contribution to the broadcast).
   49. 33Boots Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:27 PM (#2211683)
It was pretty obvious if you heard it. Still, a dumb joke, not hate speech.
   50. TerpNats Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:31 PM (#2211693)
Fox likes "attitude"...just not that kind, thank you.
   51. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:34 PM (#2211700)
His inanity just followed the wrong combination of comments, and it looked like he was responding to something that he wasn't.

But like many others have said, his non-sensical ramblings won't be lost on the broadcasts.
   52. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:37 PM (#2211705)
One can be make racially insensitive comments with no intention at all. Lyons' job as a broadcaster, amazingly, involves being very careful about what you say.

Maybe you had to be there to understand the context in which those comments were racially insensitive, or reasonably could have been interpreted as racially insensitive, but I just don't see it. And I'm not exactly what you'd call anti-PC either.
   53. rr Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:40 PM (#2211712)
in which case he didn't really do anything wrong at all

If you define "wrong" simply as "deliberately intending to hurt somebody" then, maybe, no. But that is not the issue here. Making comments like this shows a lack of awareness and poor judgment on the job, and it is lack of awareness and poor judgment which often lead to the kind of behavior that labeled as "insensitive." Whether that's an offense which warrants termination is up to the discretion of the employer.

The counterargument is that people get labeled "insensitive" because others are "hypersensitive" but I have neve found such arguments to be persuasive. Everyone is sensitive about some things about which societal standards of appropriateness vary.
   54. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:44 PM (#2211717)
This may just be my thing, but no matter what Lyons said, he didn't say anything racist because "Hispanic" is not a racial category. It's a linguistic and cultural category. One could say his comments were offensive to an ethnic group. But "Hispanic" is not a racial descriptor.
   55. rr Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:48 PM (#2211723)
But "Hispanic" is not a racial descriptor.

I actually considered putting "Hispanic" in quotes in my post, but decided not to get into it, so that is "my thing" too, to some extent.
   56. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 14, 2006 at 11:59 PM (#2211750)
Don't let the door hit you on the way out, shegitz.
   57. Dash Carlyle Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:04 AM (#2211762)
This is so unfair. Why couldn't this have happened to Jeff Brantley?
   58. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:12 AM (#2211776)
When I heard him say that last night, I thought "did he really just say that?" I thought he was saying Spanish speaking people steal wallets. I think he also said something about not feeling comfortable sitting by Lou.

Then I thought about it for a minute and realized that Steve Lyons is probably too idiotic to make such a connection. So I think its pretty innocent and he probably didn't mean much by it. If it was Joe Morgan or Tim McCarver they might make him apologize, but I guess they wanted to fire him anyway.
   59. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:19 AM (#2211788)
If you define "wrong" simply as "deliberately intending to hurt somebody" then, maybe, no. But that is not the issue here. Making comments like this shows a lack of awareness and poor judgment on the job, and it is lack of awareness and poor judgment which often lead to the kind of behavior that labeled as "insensitive." Whether that's an offense which warrants termination is up to the discretion of the employer.
But you're begging the question. "Lack of awareness" of what?
   60. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:28 AM (#2211810)
But you're begging the question. "Lack of awareness" of what?

That other people will be offended. This isn't complicated.
   61. Dagezi Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:28 AM (#2211812)
39 posts and no one has mentioned that he should have his kids taken away?
He has kids? Oh ####. Seriously though, I was shocked when I found out that he was 46. He seems more like an annoying 17 year old. Any excuse to fire Steve Lyons is fine by me. Now if we could just get Brennaman fired for baseball-ly insensitive remarks.
   62. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:29 AM (#2211817)
"Lack of awareness" of what?

Any number of things: history, the background of the person you are speaking to, the sensibilities of the person you are speaking to, and, in this case, as #52 points out, the fact that you are on ####### national television with a zillion people listening to you.

So, since you can't be aware of the details of all of these things, you need to be aware of that fact that it is, generally, a good idea to be careful about what you say around people in regards to race, gender, phyiscal disabilities etc.--particularly in public or professional situations.

Lyons wasn't fired for being an "evil racist pig" and he wasn't fired for something he said to his pal over his cellphone. He was fired for making "racially insensitive comments" on national TV. In other words, for having poor judgment about what he said--which, one would think, would be something a guy doing a national telecast should have.

Now, to be clear, I don't really think Lyons should have necesarily gotten canned for this. But I don't think it is some big injustice that he did.
   63. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:31 AM (#2211823)
I'm in the 'only read about it' group.

So--is the consensus that a) Lyons making fun of spanish speakers, and b) Lyons was taken to imply that Hispanics steal wallets, rather than Piniella (who talked about finding wallets)?

I guess I will assume the "not the first offense" thing carries a lot of weight (I didn't hear the comments about from the Dodger series, either).

Does anyone remember the Shawn Green incident?
   64. Eric in Madison Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:34 AM (#2211836)
I heard it and thought he was saying that Hispanics are wallet thieves.

Be that as it may, I suggest that Fox takes a freaking look in the mirror about who they hire and what instructions they give them. This, and the other clown about the visual aid device in one post-season. When you create a wild-west atmosphere where its over-the-top "entertainment" uber alles, what do you expect to happen?
   65. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:37 AM (#2211855)
Ok, thank you google. The Shawn Green stuff:

The Dodgers outfielder, who is Jewish, elected not to play during the Yom Kippur holiday, prompting Lyons to say, "He's not a practicing Jew. He didn't marry a Jewish girl. And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, which is unfortunate because he didn't get the money." Fox Sports issued an apology.
   66. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:38 AM (#2211859)
I blame Bush.
   67. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:40 AM (#2211870)
That other people will be offended. This isn't complicated.

No, but in that form, it's circular. People can be offended because it's racist (*); people can't be offended because he was unaware that people would be offended.




(*) Hispanic is as much or as little a "race" as other "races." (The census bureau says no, but other government agencies say yes.) It's not as if the word has only one, scientifically-established meaning.
   68. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:42 AM (#2211884)
Be that as it may, I suggest that Fox takes a freaking look in the mirror about who they hire and what instructions they give them. This, and the other clown about the visual aid device in one post-season. When you create a wild-west atmosphere where its over-the-top "entertainment" uber alles, what do you expect to happen?

Good point...nice remark along the same lines in this, pre-Piniella incident article.
   69. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:45 AM (#2211898)
I blame Bush.

Lyons says foolish things because he thinks it'll improve his chances of scoring with women? Sounds plausible.
   70. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:49 AM (#2211906)
No, but in that form, it's circular.

Maybe,,but this is an issue of sensibilities and societal standards, not logic.
   71. Dash Carlyle Posted: October 15, 2006 at 12:54 AM (#2211920)
Things I swear I overheard between innings of last night's Cards-Mets game while watching the raw, unedited network feed on my old fashioned satellite dish...

Joe Buck: [on Lo Duca's recent gambling and adultery scandals] "I can't help but think that Baseball might've avoided these kinds of problems altogether by not letting Italians in the league in the first place."

McCarver: "Right you are, Joe."

...

Tim McCarver: "I was talking to So Taguchi on the field before tonight's game, and I have to say, for an Eskimo, he doesn't smell that funny."

Joe Buck: Huh.

...

Tim McCarver: "Hey, it's Rick Sutcliffe, Jeff Brantley, John Kruk, Karl Ravech, and Bill Plaschke! What're you guys doing in the booth?"

Bill Plaschke: "We thought we'd stop by before we return to our places of work to give inappropriate hugs to the interns. And then we're meeting at Kruk's place later to eat a giant panda."

Joe Buck: "Wish I could join you, because I hate baseball, but Tim and I have to finish ruining the game for all the viewers at home. Then we're high-tailing it to Brooklyn to beat up some Gypsies before we have to catch our plane back to St. Louis, or, as Tim calls it..."

Tim McCarver: "... Vatican City West. Ha ha! God, I hate Catholics."

Rick Sutcliffe: "Me, too. And women."

God, I hope nobody gets fired!
   72. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 01:04 AM (#2211963)
Things I swear I overheard between innings of last night's Cards-Mets game while watching the raw, unedited network feed on my old fashioned satellite dish...

Yeah, but what was their intent?
   73. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 15, 2006 at 01:06 AM (#2211972)
That was damned funny.
   74. Gaelan Posted: October 15, 2006 at 01:39 AM (#2212068)
(*) Hispanic is as much or as little a "race" as other "races." (The census bureau says no, but other government agencies say yes.) It's not as if the word has only one, scientifically-established meaning.


While this isn't the crux of the conversation I think it's a good point that should be repeated because this comes up everytime someone says something "racist."

"Racially insensitive" is one of those weasel phrases that allow people to throw around accusations without having to be concrete, or have any real evidence. If one calls someone racist, people expect that one can demonstrate actual racial animosity on the part of the accused. But "insensitivity"? One doesn't even have to show intent; one can just claim to be offended.


I also think this is a good point. However the introduction of intent is tricky because it opens the door to the "I didn't mean it that way" defense. Which just brings us back to where we started. Some wil be "sensitive" and not care how he says he meant it, while others will be "insensitive" and accept it as a joke. We went through all of this over Keith Hernandez (who should have been fired).

I will say that, as written, I didn't understand the offense. But we have to remember that Lyons didn't write it, he said it, and it needs to be evaluated in that context.
   75. Colin Posted: October 15, 2006 at 01:52 AM (#2212091)
I'm with David N on this one. It seems overtly clear to me that Lyons was responding to two of Piniella's things, but not connecting them. Piniella spoke Spanish, Lyons was responding to that. Piniella made a remark about found wallets, Lyons responded to that. That he did so in a sentence or two was clumsy, but I see no reason whatsoever to conclude that he was assuming Hispanics steal wallets.

I'm of the opinion that I'm happy to be rid of Lyons, but fire him for incompetence, not a weak charge of racism. The latter becomes a scarlet letter from which it's much harder to recover, and that's just not at all fair.
   76. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 15, 2006 at 01:57 AM (#2212099)
And it gives people an excuse to mount charges just as flimsy or flimsier against others, as well. It's getting to the point where being fired for "insensitivity" is almost a random occurence, something that one can't even reliably guard against if his job involves opening his mouth.
   77. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#2212106)
but fire him for incompetence,not a weak charge of racism

Like I said before, he wasn't fired for "racism." And, I think you can make a very good argument that a guy who would do what you described on national TV in today's society...

It seems overtly clear to me that Lyons was responding to two of Piniella's things, but not connecting them. Piniella spoke Spanish, Lyons was responding to that. Piniella made a remark about found wallets, Lyons responded to that. That he did so in a sentence or two was clumsy, but I see no reason whatsoever to conclude that he was assuming Hispanics steal wallets.

...IS incompetent.

There are differences among, and a continuuum including, 1-overt racism, 2-covert racism, 3-race-baiting, and 4-poor judgment about remarks that may have racial overtones in certain contexts.

Lyons may or may not be guilty of #1, #2, or #3 in his private life--but he is guilty of #4 in his professional life, and that, combined apparently with some other mistakes he made on the air, got him fired.
   78. Bruce Markusen Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#2212107)
I've read the article and most of the comments, and I'm still not sure what happened here. I heard the comments on the air as they were made and sensed some uneasiness between Lyons and Piniella, but I didn't get the impression that there was any racial or ethnic insensitivity on Lyons' part. And for what it's worth, I'm Puerto Rican on my mother's side.

I didn't care for Lyons as a broadcaster, but this seems like an unfair reason to fire a man who is paid to make off-the-cuff, unscripted remarks. It sets a dangerous precedent; any attempt at humor could be so twisted in its interpretation that someone could take offense.
   79. AJMcCringleberry Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:04 AM (#2212110)
I'm just glad I won't have to listen to him anymore.
   80. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:18 AM (#2212140)
It's getting to the point where being fired for "insensitivity" is almost a random occurence, something that one can't even reliably guard against if his job involves opening his mouth.

My job involves having my mouth open all day and most evenings, and like I said, you have to be careful. I cuss all the time in private and on this board; I never cuss at work. I will, occasionally, with trusted male colleagues, make comments in private about hot female students and hot female colleagues. I never do that in the classroom, in the faculty room or at faculty meetings. That is common sense, which, I guess, a guy called "Psycho" might lack.

Like I said, I don't really think that Lyons should get canned. And I agree that if McCarver or Morgan pulled this, they'd just be told to apologize. But I think you can also say that Morgan and McCarver, whatever their faults, are smart enough not to say this kind of stuff on the air. Contrast Lyons' comments with Brenneman's. Yeah, Lyons' job was to be "funny", but he should be able to think fast enough to think "I'd better watch anything ethnic with Piniella." And as yet, at least, Piniella hasn't backed Lyons (of course, Lou may feel he needs the FOX gig if nobody gives him a managerial job).

You can argue, as so many do, that all of this is overwrought, that we are "hypersensitive" as a society. There is something to that, but I think if you look at the socio-hitosrical context that gave rise to the "PC" culture, it makes sense in many ways.
   81. Johnny Grubb Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:19 AM (#2212144)
Count me in as one of those that as soon I heard the remark, I was fairly shocked and wondered what might come of it. I think the clincher is where Lyons said he didn't feel comfortable sitting next to the possible wallet thief.
   82. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:19 AM (#2212143)
I'm just glad I won't have to listen to him anymore.

I mute FOX anyway, quite often--McCarver and Buck really get on my nerves.
   83. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:22 AM (#2212150)
hitosrical = historical
   84. cool papa Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:24 AM (#2212153)
The Fox network is concerned about a remark that Steve Lyons made that at best was best left unsaid but to fire him? Please. This is the same network who's TV lineup is a vast wasteland void of any intelligence.

Why is it that Shaquille can make fun of Yao Ming by mimicking the way that the Chinese people talk & it's funny & then Lyons makes a silly remark & is fired?

I think that at worse Lou Piniella should have slapped him upside the head and schooled him on being such a pendenjo.
   85. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#2212157)
and Brennaman, if that is right.
   86. cool papa Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#2212156)
The Fox network is concerned about a remark that Steve Lyons made that at best was best left unsaid but to fire him? Please. This is the same network who's TV lineup is a vast wasteland void of any intelligence.

Why is it that Shaquille can make fun of Yao Ming by mimicking the way that the Chinese people talk & it's funny & then Lyons makes a silly remark & is fired?

I think that at worse Lou Piniella should have slapped him upside the head and schooled him on being such a pendenjo.
   87. cool papa Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#2212159)
The Fox network is concerned about a remark that Steve Lyons made that at best was best left unsaid but to fire him? Please. This is the same network who's TV lineup is a vast wasteland void of any intelligence.

Why is it that Shaquille can make fun of Yao Ming by mimicking the way that the Chinese people talk & it's funny & then Lyons makes a silly remark & is fired?

I think that at worse Lou Piniella should have slapped him upside the head and schooled him on being such a pendenjo.
   88. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:29 AM (#2212163)
Why is it that Shaquille can make fun of Yao Ming by mimicking the way that the Chinese people talk & it's funny

First, a lot of people got on O'Neal's ass about that, and he had to explain it, and IIRC, sort of apologized. Second, that has nothing to do with O'Neal's competence to do what he gets paid to do. I think Lyons' mistakes do. Third, O'Neal is a hell of a lot tougher to replace than Steve Lyons is, as Laker fans know.
   89. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:33 AM (#2212167)
pendenjo

I think you mean pendejo. But you still type better than I do. Also, according to yahoo, Freddy Fender died today. To honor him, "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" is going to be the theme song of the 2006 Yankee highlight video.
   90. cool papa Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:36 AM (#2212171)
Regardless of what people get paid to do they are public figures and whether it is fair or not, their actions are watched and judged by millions.

The cost of replacing someone should have no relevance to being insensitive, however I will give you that high paid athletes do live by another set of rules.

Don't think for a minute that I'm a Steve Lyons fan, I'm not. It just seems silly to fire someone for a remark that can or can't be classified as racially insensitive.
   91. Colin Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:36 AM (#2212172)
...IS incompetent.

Yes, but they tolerate all manner of incometence; they decided to fire Lyons on the basis of "insensitivity", which just seems silly. If you want to fire him for his aggregate incompetence, by all means do so. But deciding that this is the straw that breaks the camel's back seems just absurd.
   92. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:37 AM (#2212174)
Fender was proud of his Mexican-American heritage and frequently sung verses or whole songs in Spanish. "Teardrop" had a verse in Spanish.

"Whenever I run into prejudice," he told The Washington Post in 1977, "I smile and feel sorry for them, and I say to myself, `There's one more argument for birth control.'"

"The Old Man upstairs rolled a seven on me," he told The Associated Press in 1975. "I hope he keeps it up."


Never liked his music...RIP
   93. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:37 AM (#2212175)
Better than the theme song of the 2006 Giants - "I'm only happy when it rains."
   94. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:39 AM (#2212177)
Quit triple posting, pendejo!

Seriously, during the first time Lou made the wallet analogy I posted "Lou Piniella will not give your wallet back" in Chatter, cause I thought it was funny he said finding a wallet was good luck, as opposed to having to return it. Plus I lost my wallet two weeks ago. Anyhow, I think Fox was looking for an excuse to fire Lyons, but why couldn't they have fired him ages ago for being terrible?
Piniella is great in the booth. Jose Mota was a cipher today. Brenneman is annoying (its not Greeley!) but Jack Buck is light years more hatable. I except to have hundereds of bile-induced freak outs watching him & Timmy 'analye' my Bengals in the WS.
   95. cool papa Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:39 AM (#2212179)
Yes you are right. I meant to type pendejo.

RIP Freddie
   96. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:43 AM (#2212183)
If you want to fire him for his aggregate incompetence, by all means do so

Well, I am suggesting, as I have said, that these and other remarks he has apparently made do represent a form of "aggregate incompetence."
   97. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:46 AM (#2212190)
Better than the theme song of the 2006 Giants - "I'm only happy when it rains."

This could make a pretty funny thread.
   98. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:46 AM (#2212194)
I just wish they'd they dump the whole FOX crew and replace them with Wanda Sykes and Larry David.

LD: Looks like Reyes got the ball stuck in his glove while trying to pivot on that double....

WS: Oh, I see, Larry David---just blame it on the BLACK man...


Sure as hell would be an improvement over what they've got now.
   99. rr Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:48 AM (#2212198)
This could make a pretty funny thread...sort of a Gammons homage.
   100. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 15, 2006 at 02:49 AM (#2212201)
I think they could've saved everyone a lot of time and energy by just firing him for being unclear.
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