After choosing to forgive Oakland Athletics broadcaster Glen Kuiper for using a racial slur on live television, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick says he has been condemned for his compassion.
Prior to the A’s playing the Kansas City Royals last Friday night, Kuiper spoke about his trip to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum with broadcast partner Dallas Braden during a pregame segment on NBC Sports California. Kuiper attempted to say, “We had a phenomenal day today, Negro League Museum and Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque,” but he mispronounced “negro,” in a way that sounded like a racial slur.
Kendrick was alerted to what Kuiper said on social media and watched a video of the incident hoping it wasn’t true. After watching, Kendrick says he was mortified. “In his enthusiasm to share what a special day that he and Braden had, Glen did indeed utter the N-word,” Kendrick said.
Later in the broadcast, Kuiper addressed the incident. “A little bit earlier in the show, I said something, that didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to,” Kuiper said. “And I just wanted to apologize if it sounded different than I meant it to be said. And like I said, I just wanted to apologize for that.”
Kuiper has since been suspended indefinitely for using what sounded like a racial slur on live TV and issued a statement to apologize again. “I could not be more sorry and horrified by what I said,” Kuiper said in the statement released by NBC Sports California. “I hope you will accept my sincerest apologies.”
Kendrick has accepted Kuiper’s apology and during the latest episode of his Black Diamonds podcast on SiriusXM Radio, he explained why.
“When Glen came back in the broadcast and said he was sorry for what he said, for me, acceptance of his apology was the right thing to do,” Kendrick said, citing his own principles and the values of those who played in the Negro Leagues. “It doesn’t mean I condone what he said, it was certainly an ill-advised kind of situation. I wish it never happened, but it did… I felt I needed to accept his apology. I wanted to accept his apology, because I felt his apology, while others may not, was sincere. And I did not think that he purposely said what he said.”
Most people don’t believe Kuiper acted with malice and attempted to sabotage his career by going on live television to utter a racial slur. But there is also the common belief that an accident like that doesn’t happen to someone unless they’ve privately uttered the slur before.
“If that word is not in your vocabulary, you likely don’t make that Freudian slip,” Kendrick acknowledged. “I’m not naïve enough to not understand that. But as I draw from a spirit of those who played in the Negro Leagues, I too have a forgiving heart.”
Kendrick said he has been condemned on social media for having a forgiving heart, noting that he’s been subjected to name-calling by people who are now spreading the same hate that they’re accusing Kuiper of perpetrating.
“And that’s OK. It is quite fine. I’ve often times said that when you walk in your conviction, typically, you’re going to walk by yourself. I have thick skin, I can take it. But I will not allow others to define who I am as a human being,” Kendrick said. “I will not change the principles of who I am as a person and as a human being in this crazy world that we live in. Glen Kuiper made a horrible mistake. But it was just that, a mistake, at least in my mind. I just cannot simply believe that there was malice intended even though there was malice felt.”