8.06.2005

There is no room for racism in baseball

Larry Krueger of KNBR has really dug a hole for himself and I don't see how he can get out. On Wednesday night, he spewed, not one, but two racial epithets on the air, all within the context of talking about the Giants. (I got my account from the Merc) First he complained about the Giants' "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly." Then he attacked Felipe Alou by saying later said of Alou, "You have a manager in Felipe whose mind has turned to Cream of Wheat." He has been suspended for one week by KNBR which as denounced his words.

Or have they? Their action speak louder than words.

Look at his punishment. None in the media has pointed this out, it took Alou to point out the ridiculousness of the punishment that many of us saw right away. One week without pay? For someone who is the sport director of the station, one would imagine that he is paid pretty well given that KNBR is the "flamethrower" of the west, broadcasting at 50,000 watts, which is especially far reaching at the time of the night that Krueger broadcasts. Some of their spots claim to be the most listened to sports station.

One weeks pay for someone who is the sports director of the leading sports station, probably means that he will have to hold off buying a new sports car for a week. It's pocket change for someone who should be paid very well. This is not a punishment for him, this is just a little inconvenience.

As Alou said, KNBR just slapped his hand for this outrage. Felipe has in turn decided to stop his pre-game show on KNBR until Krueger is fired. Alou shouldn't hold his breath.

In addition, besides the horribleness of the words, there is another aspect of his statement that hasn't been noted by the media. It is that he clearly has felt this way for a long while. While his outburst, as the station has said, is perhaps a one-time thing, his statement states in unvarnished truth exactly how he feels about Carribean players and Felipe Alou. It is not like the Carribean hitters he attacked have suddenly become what he called them, he clearly has felt this way about them for a while.

Yet, the Bay Area media could not even muster up anything to upbraid one of their own, to point out the ridiculousness of the punishment, to point out how racist attitudes sometimes lurk below the surface only to surface briefly before going back into the shadows again. The Niner's ex-PR guy who did those racist videos got totally blasted but the media could not muster up much of anything other than to dutifully report what Felipe Alou's reaction was. And the Chron was no better, they have columnists too who like to opine on baseball, no one was shocked enough to put out a special column on it.

I guess it is hard for people who are not of a color to understand how racism affects people. It does and it stinks. I know it does because I have experienced it and yet what I've experienced is only 0.000001% of what my parents or other non-whites have experienced. AND IT STILL STINKS! I am as American as anyone and yet certain people feel entitled to come up to me and call me unprintable names, telling me to go back where I came from (and I always wish I had the guts to tell them "San Francisco" but my dad taught me to avoid conflict.).

I still remember my first brush with racism and it wasn't even to me but I can still remember and feel the pit I felt in my stomach and the chill down my spine. My teacher was reading our history book to us but no, I was too impatient, so I read ahead to the next section. There I learned about how people got angry so they went out and burned down the ghetto where people of my race lived and basically got away with it because the laws did not protect people like us, even though they were Americans too, were immigrants like probably all of the people who attacked them too. I promptly stopped reading ahead.

Luckily stuff like that doesn't happen as much anymore and we have grown as a country. But it appears that we still have a little bit more to grow, that there is still room for improvement, because we should have zero tolerance on stuff like this, that is the American ideal, or at least it should be, if we are truly all "created equal".

6 Comments:

Anonymous bacci40 said...

your outrage is unjustified, and i suggest you listen to the entire rant in context

the cream of wheat statement, was not racially motivated, and its apparent that you are taking your cue from the media

as for the use of caribean, to describe certain players...had krug used texas instead, would you have been as outraged?

the rant was correct, this team is shit...its managers brain has turned to mush, and the product that has been put out on the field is not worth our hard earned dollars

the giants are using this rant as a smokescreen to cover up their ineptitude

but you go join the pc crowd, and just let the giants off the hook

Sun Aug 07, 10:08:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous bacci40 said...

http://f1.pg.briefcase.yahoo.com/bacci40@sbcglobal.net

heres the rant in toto

Sun Aug 07, 10:10:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The outrage is justifiable and makes complete sense. "Krug" didn't use Texas. He chose something else. I wouldn't be surprised if "Krug" is consider by many a nice guy or a "straight-shooter." I imagine he thinks his words represent a small offense. That it would be enough to say "sorry" and go on. I believe he doesn't appreciate and doesn't even have a clue to the impact his actions had. Not the inconvenience of being fined or the impact on him. I'm talking about the impact he had on other people -- lots of other people.

It's easy to say "sorry." My 3 year-old son can say "sorry." Saying "sorry" doesn't entitle you to forgiveness. It is only an attempt to admit responsibility. Sometimes, it isn't even that.

Saying "sorry" regardless of malice or intent definitely doesn't make the impact of what you've done go away.

Sun Aug 07, 11:49:00 AM PDT  
Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I will admit that it is not the first time I took my cue from the media. And it won't be my last.

When an incident is bad enough that the station has to suspend you for a week and to publicly denounce what you said and that you have to publicly apologize for as well plus go to people who are offended to apologize, I don't think I need to hear the entire rant (and sorry, I don't click on unknown links, thanks anyhow, though I would love to hear it). And nice of KNBR to spin the story, their website claims that Krueger apologized in person to Felipe Alou, when all the news accounts said that Alou scoffed at the offer and refused to see him.

Maybe if he made his Cream of Wheat comment in isolation, then I can buy that there was no racial bias involved, that he really wanted to say what you said, "mush". However, it followed up upon a statement that is clearly racial in nature, so I believe, like others, that it was a Freudian slip that exposed his inner thoughts. If you think "mush", say "mush", everyone uses the term "mush", they don't pick a specific brand, especially that one. I've never heard him using any other brand names before on his show, not that I listen to his show much.

Yes, the team has been terrible this season, but that has mainly been because of the numerous injuries that has hampered the offense and also the starting pitching that hasn't been there until recently. It happens.

The team was doing fine the first month, going 14-11 before the injuries took their toll on the team and Schmidt' and Lowry's pitching mechanics went kerplewy.

And if you had bothered to read my column and postings over the past few years, you would know that I have blamed the Giants management for not pursuing Vlad when he was on the market and for not putting up the money in 2003 or 2004 to pursue Bonds' successor, with whom, if we had him now, we might be leading the division instead of scraping the bottom (lucky there's the Rockies). They had a window to leverage Bonds incomparable feats and they blew it.

I would believe Krueger was repentent if he were doing more than accepting a suspension for a week. Now I would consider it "too little, too late" but if he had immediately arranged to do something more, like work with the NAACP or perhaps do an immediate PSA spot for KNBR where he publicly apologizes and explains why he was wrong and how racism is wrong or maybe arrange for a big interview with a newspaper, perhaps the one he was writing for. I don't know if the Examiner still exists or not or if he still writes for them so if not, then he could go to the Chronicle or perhaps, even better, go to the Tribune, which serves Oakland, and interview there to get the message out that racism is an insidious behavior and wrong. Then I would say that he was going the extra mile, because that is what you need to do when you cross the line. People have lost their jobs for crossing the line, perhaps inadverdently and without malice, but still they lost their jobs. A week's suspension without pay is truly a slap on the hand, forgotten by the time his next regular paycheck comes in.

KNBR was no better with their standard legalese PR notice on the suspension regarding the "unfortunate" choice of words, a nice corporate CYA notice. It was not "unfortunate", it was wrong and should have been labeled as such in strong terms, both in the PR statement and through the punishment. Neither were satisfactory in my eyes. If you want to read something PC, go read their PR on the suspension.

Tue Aug 09, 01:53:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

before krug was suspended, or even had the threat of suspension, he went on the air to apologize

knbr did not suspend him until after alou made this a national spectacle....they even posted the rant

im not sure if you ever listen to krug, but you definitely didnt hear the show that nite

later in the show, that racist berated sabean for not going after vlad, and berated the org for not having a south american baseball academy....yup, he hates latins all right

one word was all he used...and one word should not ruin a mans career

wheres your article on how alou has handled this?

why did alou only call a meeting with the latin players?

where is your article on alous subliminal racism? ie,when linden only had 58 at bats and made 1 goof in the field, he was sent down, yet he asked for, got and played a stiff like sanchez

krug is not a racist, he just made a dumb comment, and your outrage is unwarrented

end of story

Tue Aug 09, 01:03:00 PM PDT  
Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Depends on what the one word he used. I just posted on my bending on whether "Krug" is a racist or not and explained my position further - perhaps now you will understand.

As you clearly don't understand now. I would imagine he called in only the Latin players because, hmmm, it was LATINS who were covered by Kruger's "Carribean" statement?!? If Krueger had used a blanket statement on blacks, then Alou would have alerted all the blacks on the team, and if Krueger attacked all the whites, Alou would have spoken with the whites. I assume that Alou wanted the affected parties to know what was said and done.

And talk about reading racism into "one" action! I suppose Linden's .172 batting average up to that point had nothing to do with it? Or perhaps Sanchez's .296 career batting average and ability to steal 40+ bases in a season - proven MLB ability vs. Linden's good AAA stats - had nothing to do with it?

And why didn't Alou go after Claudio Vargas? A fellow Dominican, he has pitched great for Arizona and we had priority over the D-backs in the waiver process, and we could certainly have used a starter back then.

And we could have used Miguel Tejada or Vlad Guerrero, could have afforded them too, as I showed in a column long ago on sfdugout.com, but somehow Alou had no power to get them but had the power to get Sanchez.

You obviously don't understand the power and impact that one word can have.

Tue Aug 09, 01:43:00 PM PDT  

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