Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Often wrong, seldom in doubt

KNBR 680, the flagship radio station of the San Francisco Giants (as well as the Golden State Warriors and, as of this upcoming season, the San Francisco 49ers), has dumped controversial sports-talk host Larry Krueger, program director Bob Agnew, and morning show producer Tony Rhein in the wake of Kreuger's ill-advised remarks last week about certain Giants players of Latin American heritage.

On his Sportsphone 680 broadcast last Wednesday, Krueger made reference to "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly." Giants manager Felipe Alou, himself a native of the Dominican Republic, walked off his daily pregame show, and refused to accept an apology from Krueger. KNBR originally suspended Krueger for a week, but management apparently decided that the shoot-from-the-lip host had to walk the plank.

It should be noted that KNBR, in addition to airing Giants games since the late '70s, also owns a stake in the ballclub. According to KNBR mainstay Gary Radnich, the Giants didn't have any say in the terminations, but I've got to believe someone in the Giants organization put a bug in KNBR head honcho Tony Salvadore's ear and let him know that the team was not amused by Krueger's comments, or the comedy segment produced by Rhein that made light of the incident.

I'm not all that surprised that Krueger was fired. In fact, I raised a questioning eyebrow at the fact that KNBR only suspended him at first. You just can't make racially insensitive comments on the public airwaves these days and expect to get off scot-free. But I'm floored by the fact that Bob Agnew was let go. Agnew has been the program chief at KNBR for almost as long as I can remember. His firing will definitely shake things up at "The Sports Leader."

Krueger used to end his show with the sign-off, "Often wrong, seldom in doubt." He was wrong this time, and apparently his employers weren't in doubt about that.

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