Veteran Oakland A’s broadcaster Glen Kuiper has been fired after he uttered a racist slur on live TV earlier this month, his employer said.
Kuiper, who has been behind the microphone calling A’s games for 20 seasons, had been suspended after using the n-word during a May 5 pregame broadcast of Oakland’s game against the Kansas City Royals, while referring to his visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
A spokesperson with NBC Sports California said the decision to cut ties with Kuiper came after an internal review. NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC Sports California and NBC News.
“We thank Glen for his dedication to Bay Area baseball over the years,” the spokesperson said.
Kuiper said in a statement he was notified Monday morning that his contract was terminated effective immediately “due to the unintentional use of an offensive word on the air.”
He explained that the day of his on-air controversy, he had spent about three hours at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to learn about the “difficulties and social barriers African American players endured in MLB’s early years.”
“When the subject of the museum visit came up in the pregame show, I was excited and eager to share what I had done and seen that day,” he explained. “In my excitement, I rushed through the word ‘negro’ resulting in my very unfortunate mispronunciation.”
“I sincerely apologize to everyone who was hurt by this. It was a terrible but honest mispronunciation, and I take full responsibility,” Kuiper added.
Kuiper said “racism is in no way a part of me” and described himself as an "honest, caring, kind, honorable, respectful husband and father" who "would never utter a disparaging word about anybody."
Kuiper expressed frustration over his termination, writing: “I wish the Oakland A’s and NBC Sports would have taken into consideration my 20-year career, my solid reputation, integrity and character, but in this current environment traits like integrity and character are no longer considered.”
“I will always have a hard time understanding how one mistake in a 20-year broadcasting career is cause for termination, but I know something better is in my future,” he added. “I love the game of baseball and I love being a broadcaster, and I love the Bay Area community. I hope I will be remembered for that.”
Kuiper also addressed his on-air comment later during the May 5 game.
“Welcome back to Kauffman Stadium. A little bit earlier in the show, I said something that didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to,” he said. “And I just wanted to apologize if it sounded different than I meant it to be said and I just wanted to apologize for that.”
A day after the incident, Oakland A’s Communications Department tweeted that Kuiper's language was “unacceptable” and that Oakland Athletics does not “condone such language.” The statement said the team was “working to address the situation.”