We continue the countdown on the Top 20 Biggest Pre-Dr. Laura Racial Oopsies in the media since the Civil Rights Movement.
15. Dennis and Callahan
John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, the hosts of a sports radio talk show on WEEI in Boston, were having a simple, topical discussion in 2003, like all sports hosts do. They were reading a news story about a gorilla who had escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo and was found and captured at a bus stop. Dennis said, ”Yeah, he’s a METCO gorilla,” to which Callahan replied, ”Heading out to Lexington.” Well, METCO happens to be a state program that buses inner-city Boston students to nearby suburban schools. So, this little comment didn’t really float anyone’s boat in Boston. The two hosts were suspended for two weeks after Dunkin Donuts and Blue Cross Blue Shield pulled their advertising, as if the amount of cream the former puts in their coffee isn’t racist. Dennis and Callahan were forced to undergo sensitivity training, and METCO was given free advertising on the station.
14. John Rocker
Give it to Rocker, the former Atlanta Braves closer was an equal-opportunity offender. In 2000 the pitcher told Sports Illustrated exactly what he thought about New York City, equating a ride on the 7 Train with riding through Beirut, and referring to sitting next to ”some queer with AIDS.” But that wouldn’t put him on this list. No, sir. In the same interview, Rocker called then-teammate Randall Simon, a black man, a ”fat monkey.” Rocker had to learn - you can’t call people ”fat” these days.
13. Senator Robert Byrd
Many people are aware that Senator Byrd was a Klansman in his younger years. And he wasn’t just a member, he was the Exalted Cyclops of his local chapter. This despite having two perfectly good eyes. You just knew then that this kid was going places. So no one should have been very surprised when, in 2001, Byrd told Fox’s Tony Snow, ”There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm going to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I'd just as soon quit talking about it so much.” If he had only said ”wiggers,” the ensuing controversy probably wouldn’t have happened.
12. Kelly Tilghman
How does this Golf Channel announcer become the only woman on this list ahead of Marge Schott? One simple word. In early 2008, when her co-anchor Nick Faldo joked about the other golfers needing to gang up on Tiger Woods, Tilghman took it a step further, replying, "Lynch him in a back alley.” Well, yeah, she was suspended, despite Woods saying he didn’t believe there was any hatred in the comment. She couldn’t be a racist; she’s just so darn cute.
11. Fuzzy Zoeller
This is what happens when you let blacks on the golf course when they’re not carrying trays. Masters and U.S. Open champ Fuzzy Zoeller decided, at the 1997 Masters tournament, to comment on Tiger Woods selecting the dinner menu for the following year’s Master’s Club Championship Dinner, being the champion this year. Zoeller said, ”That little boy is driving well and he's putting well. He's doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year. Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.”
Wow. Pick that apart and count how many potentially offensive words and phrases are contained within. I found five. How many did you find?