Radio host fired for “racial epithet”

I don’t know about this one. KTRS (St. Louis) talk show host Dave Lenihan was immediately fired after he used the word “coon,” a racial slur, instead of “coup” in describing (Condoleezza Rice’s) attributes for the post of NFL commissioner.

“She’s been chancellor of Stanford. She’s got the patent resume of somebody that has serious skill. She loves football. She’s African-American, which would kind of be a big coon. A big coon. Oh my God. I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that.”

I don’t know about this one. It sounds like a one-time, slip-of-the-tongue. Fruedian? Maybe. But there appears to be no history of bias or racial slurs. Anybody that’s been on the air knows that –eventually– something slips. You have to look at intent here. If Mr. Lenihan is a racist… it’s probably not hard to tell that. Read the transcipt and tell me if I’m wrong here. Why not ask the listeners? Not just the folks that grabbed the phone and called to complain, but a reasonable sample. If there’s a clean concesus that his remark was intentional, he’s gone. If there’s even a possibility it was a slip, with no malice… keep him on. I think I might have taken Mr. Lenihan off the air…had a long talk…maybe talk to members of the community…and then make a decision.

Nobody panics when Rush Limbaugh refers to “these people,” clearly referring to people of color. But Rush is bringing home the bacon. Sounds like Mr. Lenihan was new enough to be expendable.

4 thoughts on “Radio host fired for “racial epithet”

  1. See, I heard the audio and I feel like it sounded sort of intentional. I may be wrong, and I don’t mean to point fingers at an innocent man, but MY ears heard intent…
    I could be wrong.

  2. I heard the tape. it was clearly a slip of the tongue and he apologized profusely immediately afterwards. so profusely, he probably made it worse.

  3. Sunny makes a good point. Let’s listen to the tape. I’m betting it wouldn’t be difficult determine the host’s intent. And if he was trying to be cute, kick him.

  4. Human communication is about 98% tone of voice and body language. It is hard to tell from just the written word what the inflection might have been. If there was any chance he thought he was being funny the statement cannot be tolerated. However, if it truly was just a slip of the tongue, what a shame. This should be a good conversation starter.

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