Lyons and Tigers and Berra. . .Oh, My!
News Item: Fox fires baseball broadcaster Steve Lyons 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.
Response: I have never cared for Lyons - as a player, a color analyst, or as an in-studio commentator - and I don't condone his comments in this instance. That said, I believe Fox overreacted by firing him.
In these politically correct times, we have simply become overly sensitive about such comments, especially when the subject matters are on the American Civil Liberty Union's protected list. I believe a reprimand or even a suspension (if he had been reprimanded before) would have been more suitable.
Wondering if I was being insensitive, I shared the news with my brothers via email in the hopes of getting another view on the matter. Neither one of them is a red neck or anything close to it. In fact, I believe my older brother Tom is as objective and fair as they come. My younger brother Gary is principled and culturally sensitive. In short, they would both make excellent jurors or even arbiters.
Tom wrote back, "I thought it was a very stupid comment" and went on to elaborate as to the whys and wherefores.
My son Joe, who I also included as a recipient of the original email, chimed in, "My question is 'What took so long?'"
Now it was Gary's turn. We were all online and the emails were being exchanged rather quickly. He wrote back, "While understanding the seriousness of racism and the like, this undersores the political correctness that is at hand." The example he then gave is priceless.
"I see, in the Tigers game, it's not OK for Lyons to say that Piniella was 'hablaing Espanol' and 'I still can't find my wallet,' albeit for cheap laughs . . .
. . . But what if Lyons had been working alongside Yogi Berra and Yogi said . . . (as he did about a hotel stay he recently had):
'The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase . . . but nobody ever goes there any more cuz it's always too crowded!'
Lyons then would add, 'Huh, was that English, Yogi? Come to think of it, Yogi, since you stayed at my house, my linen closet seems to be a bit lighter!'"
Gary concludes by adding, "I'm sure he would have been fired for that, too. Good grief! If I've learned one thing, you can observe a lot just by watching!"
Pretty good, huh? Oh, and I owe Gary a special thanks for the title to this post as well. He is pretty clever.
For more on the matter, including reactions by Lyons to his firing, be sure to read the L.A. Times version of the story.