Indianapolis Colts radio voice Bob Lamey used the N-word in telling a story, and so he is now the former Colts radio voice.
As it should be.
What seemed an oddly timed retirement became an unpleasant story of a broadcaster who believed his need to behave without hate and the language of hate ended when the microphone is silenced.
Bob clearly showed his compromised ability for self-editing when he dropped an F-bomb during a game broadcast two years ago.
Bob deserves better than to be remembered for the F-bomb incident. No Colts Radio Network affiliate lost its license or was forced to pay a substantial fine as a result of Bob’s indelicate language. The world kept spinning, and our society was not damaged by Bob’s profanity.
The N-word is different, and according to a WTHR.com’s report, last week Bob used the N-word as he told a story in the presence of an Emmis Communications employee who was offended. Bob apologized, but the Emmis employee reported the incident to Emmis HR, and they called the Colts.
I wrote a post two years ago that called for Bob to retire because of his F-bomb, but it was deeper than that one time occurrence.
When a broadcaster gets loose with profanity, it’s a signal that the part of the brain governing language is no longer functioning properly.
An F-bomb is profane. The N-word communicates hatred and an indifference to the humanity of an entire race of people. it conjures a time of slavery and lynchings, and is not tolerated in polite – or impolite – society.
I have read arguments this morning that it is unfair for people to judge Bob’s 40+ years as an Indianapolis broadcaster because of one private utterance. I would agree.
The judgment shouldn’t be of Bob as a broadcaster, but as a human being. And a guy on the radio is a human being we welcome into our homes and cars. I don’t want a human being who uses that word in my home or car.
This was an easy call for the Colts, and not just because a good many of their employees are African Americans, but because the use of that word is not befitting any organization.
It’s an easy call for us as people too – I hope – to refuse to invite anyone who uses that word into our presence, either personally or through the radio.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.