The host of ESPN’s morning radio show Mike and Mike in the Morning Mike Greenberg opened his show yesterday morning by referring the Civil Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as ‘Martin Luther Coon King.’
Yep, he said it. Listen to it for yourself.
I think ESPN, Greenberg’s African-American co-workers and athletes should speak out and let the chips fall. Call for Greenberg’s job now!
Greenberg issued the following apology late yesterday evening: “I just came home from the Knicks game and found out about the mess that was created by my garbling a sentence on our show this morning; I apologize for not addressing it sooner."And I'm sorry that my talking too fast - and slurring my words - might have given people who don't know our show the wrong impression about us, and about me."
Greenberg continues, "I feel horrible about that, because nothing could be further away from who I am and what our show is about. I would never say anything like that, not in public, or in private, or in the silence of my own mind, and neither would anyone associated with our show, and I'm very sorry that my stumble this morning gave so many people the opposite impression.”
Sorry, Charlie. This isn’t about Greenberg “slurring” his words. It’s about him using a racial “slur” in referring to one of the great leaders of the last century as a “coon.”
There’s no way he should continue to work at an entity where he obviously lacks sensitivity and has racist tendencies.There’s no amount of damage control ESPN can put on Greenberg’s blunder.
For him to refer to MLK as a “coon” didn’t just evolve yesterday. For Greenberg to utter such a word it may be one he's likely used before. Also, if Greenberg would say such a thing on the air what other slurs has he uttered off air?
Remember when the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman suggested Tiger Woods should be taken in a “back alley and lynched” two years ago? Tilghman issued a weak apology, and was suspended for a brief stint. Tiger didn’t speak up and the Golf Channel didn’t fire her.
Remember when Don Imus referred to members of the Rutgers womens basketball team as “nappy-headed ho’s?” Imus was suspended but months later he was back in the booth.
Who should step up and address the Greenberg situation? When will the line be drawn?
First off, ESPN should fire Greenberg. Issue a statement that insensitive remarks won’t be tolerated about a man who contributed so much to this country. It’s one thing to refer to MLK as a “coon” before millions of listeners: It’s another thing to do it on the day the country celebrates his legacy.
Secondly, those African-Americans who work for ESPN should make their feelings known. Stewart Scott, Mike Wilbon, Jalen Rose, Mike Tirico, J.A. Adonde and others should voice their opposition. If you face ridicule so what. If it weren’t for the likes of MLK you think you’d be where you are now?
Speak out and demand that some sort of action be taken now. If Greenberg refers to MLK as a “coon” what do you think he may feel about his African-American co-workers?
Lastly, African-American athletes should speak out. They should refuse to appear on his show until ESPN takes some sort of action against Greenberg. African-American athletes are the marquee draws in sport. Denouncing such comments would send a strong message.
ESPN and Greenberg are in likely damage control. They are finding a way to spin this situation in their favor and let it blow over. I don’t think so. African-American journalists and athletes with platforms should speak out and induce ESPN to do the right thing.
If MLK were alive I’m quite sure he wouldn’t let this blow over. Hence, why should those who who believe in King’s dream allow Greenberg to disrespect him on the day we celebrate his legacy?