Very few instances in life where a white person in America uses the term “house negro” end well. Josh Innes, radio host for Philadelphia’s SportsRadio 94.1 WIP, learned that the hard way this week.
The incident stems from when Innes was broadcasting before new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Peterson’s introductory press conference on Tuesday. He was speaking with co-host Hollis Thomas about Eagles center Jason Kelce, who had shown up early for the presser and appeared to Innes to be “lap dog” to the new coaching staff.
Then, Innes invoked the film Malcolm X and things got real awkward real fast.
Innes: “Jason Kelce’s already there, huh? That’s … uh … I’ll give Jason Kelce this, he’s always in character. He never breaks character. His character is: lapdog for whoever the hell the coach is. And he is always … He’s at the press conference, huh? Good for him, bless his heart.”
Thomas: “Actually I don’t really blame him because he’s a guy who wants a job.”
Innes: “Here’s the thing though, right, it’s like this. Let me find a good comparison here. I was watching Malcolm X yesterday, I was in the airport in Memphis watching Malcolm X, and there was a scene where Denzel’s doing the whole thing about the slave and the house negro? Right? And like, the house negro is the guy who’s gonna tell you like, oh he gets to live in the big house with the boss and every time he refers to something that happens in the house it’s ‘our house’ and ‘we’ and everything like that. And then there’s the actual slave that isn’t the house negro that’s just trying to run away. Essentially what you’re getting here is Jason Kelce is the house negro is what I’m trying to convey to you.”
Innes: “That’s essentially Jason Kelce’s job: ‘Yessir. Yes boss. Absolutely boss. Yes, sir boss.’ That is Jason Kelce, he is, whoever the head coach is gonna be, he’s gonna be all over that head coach. There’s no arguing, there’s no fussing, there’s no fighting, he’s in with that guy.”
As you no doubt figured, the reaction to Innes’ comments was angry and swift. Later on in the same program, Innes apologized while also trying to explain what he meant.
““I think [Jason Kelce] is the Eddie Haskell of the team, whoever the coach is he’s gonna kiss the coach’s ass, that’s always been my opinion of Jason Kelce. And then I tried to make a comparison to how I was watching Malcolm X yesterday, and I made a bad analogy, and for that I apologize. I’ve seen all this like Deadspin, and I’ve seen all these people who are tweeting me. Like literally I’m the dumbest human being on the planet. Like when I’m reading this I’m like ‘You know Josh, whatever you were trying to say, it just came out poorly.’ And my intention was not to offend anybody or anything …”
“Like that was … my intention was to look for something that … a comparison that was different than the Eddie Haskell and I was just watching Malcolm X, I was sitting in the airport in Memphis yesterday, I was there for six hours and I saw this was on the HBO Go and I was watching it, and I was like, you know like, it all came out poorly and I see that people are making fun of me across the country and you should make fun of me across the country because I’m stupid. Like, it was in no way meant to offend anybody, it was stupid is all it was and I apologize for that, I truly do. I’m an idiot. I acknowledge I’m an idiot.”
That apology doesn’t appear to have satisfied his bosses and WIP suspended Innes on Wednesday. The station also released a statement, saying that “Comments made by Josh Innes during his WIP-FM program yesterday in regards to Eagles center Jason Kelce were inappropriate and unacceptable. We do not condone or approve of those comments.”
The suspension for Innes is three days long, and he’ll return to his show on Monday.
Another person who released a statement of sorts was Jason Kelce, who tweeted a response directly to Innes.
— Jason Kelce (@Jkelce) January 20, 2016