Kevin Kietzman

Kansas City radio host Kevin Kietzman (a mid-day host on Sports Radio 810 WHB who’s a 20-year veteran with the station, as well as an investor in it, and listed as their vice president and sports director) made comments Monday about Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid such as “Discipline is not his thing. It did not work out particularly well in his family life” and “he is not good at fixing people, he is not good at discipline. ” Those comments (which can be heard here) received national criticism from us and from many, many others, as “It did not work out particularly well in his family life” can easily be linked to Reid’s son Garrett’s 2012 death from a heroin overdose. Kietzman then said on Twitter and in e-mails to us that he wasn’t referencing Garrett’s death, but rather Reid hiring his sons despite their pasts with drug addiction and run-ins with the law.

That explanation didn’t stop the tide of criticism for Kietzman, though, and it didn’t mean that there were no repercussions. His station put out a statement Tuesday morning that “We have decided to take the immediate step to take Kevin off the air until further notice as we review this matter.” Kietzman himself has now offered an apology:

“I want to begin by sincerely apologizing to coach Andy Reid and his entire family for my comments yesterday. What I said has been interpreted by many as hurtful, insensitive and cold. And in hearing from listeners and relistening to what I said, I can understand why. I can finally find the words to even say out loud what some people believe I was trying to convey.”

“I never mentioned and would never, ever suggest that Coach Reid was at fault for his son’s tragic death, or that any parent would be at fault for such an unspeakable tragedy. As a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain of burying a child. Please know that this was not my intention and that it was not even on my mind when I made the comments I did. And if Coach Reid or any listener interpreted it that way, I again apologize.”

“My beliefs on the team’s personnel history are absolutely trivial when it comes to actually hurting somebody with my poorly-chosen words. I am deeply sorry that I offended so many people, but mostly, I’m sorry if I hurt Coach Reid, a man I respect greatly. He deserves better than to have something like this happen that brings up terrible memories.”

“I’ve spent a great deal of time and resources over the past several years working with organizations trying to curb the epidemic of teen suicide. I personally know several parents that have lost a child to suicide or heartbreaking accidents. Losing a child will always be my worst nightmare, and I feel truly blessed every day that one of my own children survived a horrible car accident.”

“The absolute worst thing I could ever say on the air would be to blame a fellow parent for a tragedy they could not possibly prevent. People who know me know this, they know my heart. For those who do not, I can’t change what you think of me today, but I can again say that I’m sorry for my comments and pledge to be more considerate choosing my words when going forward.”

“This is on me. I’m paid as a broadcaster to be concise in what I say. My words on Monday’s show left open way too many interpretations and I’m the only person responsible for that, and the only person to blame. I’ll learn from this mistake and I’ll work hard to do better, and I hope to one day regain the trust of Coach Reid and the Chiefs’ organization.”

“I tried to contact Coach Reid this morning to speak to him, father to father, and personally apologize for any pain I may have caused him or his family. I’m told he’s unavailable today and I understand. I hope he will accept my apology, but I understand if I am not completely forgiven.”

“I hope to be back soon, and I thank my friends, family, listeners, sponsors, coworkers and partners that have reached out to support me.”

That’s a rather different tack from what Kietzman tweeted Monday night:

Or what he said to AA by e-mail then:

I appreciate you at least putting so much of my quote in your story but still believe you may have missed much of the context.

I was commenting the Chiefs, as they always do, seem to think they can fix players. The owner was criticized, management criticized and Andy Reid was criticized. They asked our city to trust them with these players after we have already witnessed abuse cases and a murder/suicide in the parking lot of the practice facility. Many national outlets have chronicled the Chiefs embarrassing record with players committing crimes against others.

I never once mentioned anything about Andy Reid’s son’s death and never once had it on my mind. A caller called in later and said something about the death and I quickly corrected him and pointed out that I was referencing two sons that were convicted drug dealers and drug addicts that he chose to try to fix by hiring them to work for his football teams.

When Reid decided to hire his sons to try to help them, it ceased being a personal, private matter in my opinion. When a tax payer supported football team hires convicted felons, it is absolutely worthy of scrutiny. Andy Reid has hired several convicted criminals in his career and asked fans to trust him. Some have worked out, many have not. He’s also taken chances on players that somehow drop in the draft because other teams are scared to draft them and he’s going to work it all out. Failure with Marcus Peters and Kareem Hunt. Failed with many lesser known players that had to go. This is a complicated issue in Kansas City and at no point did I ever mention his son’s death, let alone blame him for it. That’s an insane position. But I do believe he and the Chiefs have a bad pattern of employing players, coaches and staff with real issues thinking it will all work out if they are working or playing for him. And that pattern is about to continue when they keep Tyreek Hill.

Reid and the Chiefs asked us to trust them as they moved Hill and subsequently his girlfriend to KC. Now Kansas taxpayers are taking care of Tyreek HIll’s son and likely his soon to be born twins. As concerned citizens, we at least find some comfort knowing our city and excellent Child Services professionals are taking care of a child the Chiefs and Tyreek Hill have failed.

[From the second e-mail:]

I never once mentioned the death of his son and as a father of three young adults, know how hard it is being a parent.  Trust me, I’m the last guy that would ever do anything like that.  My main charity work here in KC centers around teen suicide as it has affected many people that we loosely know.

Our group works very, very hard to help counsel parents that it is NOT their fault because they tend to blame themselves.
Andy is a good man but just like the rest of us, has flaws.  He’s in a position where a lot of his mistakes are public and that just comes with the territory.  
Funny thing is this is totally a social media/internet fiasco, I never had one person call and complain about anything I said and neither did the radio station.

For the record, on Tuesday morning, Kietzman tweeted an abbreviated version of our response to his second e-mail, tweeting “From Andrew Bucholtz at Awful Announcing to me. “My apologies for ascribing a connection to Garrett’s death to your comments.” The full version of that e-mail is “Fair enough. Thanks for reaching out, and my apologies for ascribing a connection to Garrett’s death to your comments if that wasn’t what you intended. I appreciate the extra info here, and will have the piece updated with that shortly.”

As detailed here, that partial apology stands in its full form. Our initial piece was too declarative that Kietzman was referencing Garrett Reid’s death, which he says he wasn’t, and we’re not in his head examining his motivation. But we certainly weren’t the only listener or outlet to make that connection, and our criticism of Kietzman’s comments (and in particular, of “It did not work out particularly well in his family life”) stands. He’s now apologized for those, and we’ll see if he winds up back on the air.

[Kevin Kietzman on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.