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ESPN Buries Mike Greenberg Martin Luther Coon Slipup Story, Apology

ESPN First Take host Dana Jacobson was suspended a week for saying “F*** Notre Dame, F*** touchdown Jesus,” at a roast. ESPN writer Jemele Hill was suspended for comparing the Celtics to Adolf Hitler. Mike and Mike host and big-time ESPN personality Mike Greenberg made a slip up on Martin Luther King Jr. Day where he said “Martin Luther Coon King Jr. …” and all he did was issue a statement apology later in the day and nothing happened? And ESPN buried it on some PR page of the site that nobody ever visits? I think the issue and the apology deserves more prominent placement than it received considering the sensitive matter of the subject.

As someone who broadcasts on the radio, I am quite familiar with slip-ups and screw-ups. I make them all the time and I know exactly what it’s like to jumble words. Even knowing that, I still don’t understand how such a polished sportscaster like Mike Greenberg made that mistake unless he had that derogatory term in his head to begin with. I think it’s wrong that ESPN hasn’t done more to address this “slipup.” If one doesn’t understand the significance of this mistake, maybe you should swap the “M” in Mike’s name for a “K” and then let me know how you feel. I guess Greenberg has built up so much credibility as a respectful, considerate guy that people give him the benefit of the doubt. I normally would but I can’t because I think this is too inexplicable of a mistake to overlook.



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  • Kevin/Indianapolis

    I’ll definitely overlook the stumble, just as I would if you did the same thing on your show, Larry. Talking on the radio can be a challenge, even for paid professionals. Years of hard work should not be thrown in the dumpster because of a very innocent slip. The embarrassment Mike feels should be more than enough. If I was going to critique ESPN and hand out harsh reviews, this incident wouldn’t come close to being one I’d rate.

  • BigBlackRod

    I do not believe that Mike Greenberg meant to say what he said on air. At any given moment, there are millions of bits of mental flotsam and jetsam roiling about in our brains; some of it civil, some not. Greenberg has never given me the idea that he is a raging racist, but, even if he is, one mistake does not rate a career being cast aside like garbage. PEACE.

  • Mac

    I think he should be suspended at the least.

  • Sam

    Thank you for at least conveying what needs to be discussed. ESPN pushed this so far under the rug it is an insult.
    I’m sure he never wanted anyone to hear it on the radio unless he is that ignorant. Not saying he is a racist but then again, many people who are racist are able to hide it very well to.
    He should have certainly been suspended. Personally, I think there show is not very good.

  • CP

    You are out of your mind. He simply (like normal) was talking too fast and probably was trying to say king and junior at the same time. This was quite an unfortunate slip up, but to infer that he had this on his mind is crazy. I don’t think we honor the legacy of King by focusing on this instead of real issues. I hope some of us people of color come tho his defense over this. Jumping on this will fuel racism not reduce it.

  • Mitch

    Regardless of whether or not it was intentional, the point is that it happened. And because of what actually came out of his mouth, ESPN should feel the burden of easing the mindset of a good number of its viewers by (at least) issuing some sort of temporary leave of absense.

  • tucker

    Innocent? More likely Freudian. How does saying King followed by junior really fast equal “coon”?

    To small a sample to determine if he is a racist but he should show some respect, especially on King’s day. Dude needs to suspend himself even if ESPN won’t do it.

  • Kevin/Indianapolis

    The amazing lack of logic by some people amazes me. Suspension because it would ease the mindset of listeners? It wouldn’t make sense, and neither does that opinion. It was a slip, pure and simple.

  • johnny jihadist

    i just wish people realized that there were other radio options out there other than the TERRIBLE four letter network…i won’t even pretend to understand why this is a story

  • Randall

    Slip up or not, if an athlete or owner made the same faux pas, ESPN would have made sure everyone knew about it on Sportscenter, the ticker at the bottom of ESPN, and there probably would have been a special Outside the Lines about race relations in sports.
    Everyone makes mistakes and says something they may not have meant to, just ironic how those mistakes are either magnified or ignored depending which side of the spectrum you sit on.

  • Gerald Jackson

    Kevin from Indy, I think a lot of people who are upset with what was said, slipped, misinterpetted, or whatever it was, is that it took several hours to apologize for it. Any person of intelligence would know, and even by your own statement, that he realized he made a mistake and tried to fix it, hence saying coon(kun) instead of kunior. The producers should have said during the next break, or at least Greenberg, that this slip up was a bad one and needs to be addressed immediately. It just doesn’t sit well when the apology comes after you were told it was insensitive hours later. Did he not know that Coon place behind Martin Luther was insensitive?

  • shay mikell

    I watch the show and listen to it also, their is no way you slip up and say coon instead of what he meant to say without that word in your vocabulary already point blank.

  • Jennifer

    I grew up in a town where there were only 9 Black families. Going to school was a challenge even though it was the 90’s. I had to hear happy Martin Luther Coon day every January. Once the principal said it over the PA system reminding us that there was no school Monday. ” School will be closed Monday due to the Martin Luther coon holiday” You could hear the thunder of laughter no matter where you were. Of course he corrected himself and said king, but the cat was out of the bag. Greenberg I am sure, did not mean to say it, but he said it. I can not believe he is still on the air. What a shame. I hope no Black players will go on that show. I think all of the attention on Haiti made this news slow to come out, so that is why he still sits his wig head in that chair.

  • Jennifer

    Also, why the slip there? He didn’t slip on Martin, or Day, It just so happens it was king. That is a well known racist comment and he said it. I will never watch anything on ESPN and that show stinks.

  • jane doe

    Funny you should bring up the changing “Mike” by replacing the “M” with a “K”. A black store clerk once addressed me that way when he found out I had a JEwish last name then became enraged when I called him nigger. Nope he did not lose his job. Really, don’t worry- blacks have committed more injustices against Jews (and gotten away scott free) than the other way around. Every hear of Crown Heights? Louis Farrakhan? Jesse Jackson? Jerimiah WRight? Every heard of an old black lady murdered and/or murder by a couple of Jewish guys? No you haven’t. It happeneds the other way ALL THE TIME. Funny you don’t notice that Jewish-on-Black crime is almost nonexistant but Black-on-jewish crime is an epidemic. 90 year old Holocaust survior recently murdered by three young black thugs. Funny you black folks SURE would notice if three young yamuke wearing guys murdered an elderly black person.

  • John A / Washington DC

    The cover up by ESPN and lack of action toward Mr. Mike Greenberg is disgaceful and insulting to all Americans. The Jewish media power structure has effectly ignored his racist comments and ESPN and affiliate sportscasters have not for some mysterious reason even mentioned the remark. As I type, Mike and Mike are celebrating their 10Th anniversery without a mention of an apology to the public and I’m sure he meant what he said on the Martin Luther King Holiday. On other note, I’m tired of these so called linguist professionals making crappy excuses for how Greenberg’s racist comment slipped. They are probably just as racist as he is and they have no respect for a national icon such as Martin LutherKing. Bottom line is Mike Greenberg can say and think Coon all he wants but ESPN should not be his media outlet to deliver such statements. The comment on public airspace was racist and should be dealt with in a more appropriate manner.

  • http://LarryBrown.com Tony C

    The comments posted by John A reflects the sentiments of most well meaning people.

  • Kevin/Indianapolis

    Reply to John A- You’re a coward when you try to defend your point by pointing fingers at others, accusing them of being racist or assuming their opinion of Dr. King. You’re clueless. I guarantee that you wouldn’t make those statements face to face with me or others who defended the slip for what it was…a slip. You type a tough game, and that’s it. Go back to sleep.

  • goody

    we need to tweet this to cnn facebook myspace, every blog and website thats in the media and internet..Its possible there just trying to not make it a issue cause they dont want to discuss it, but it’s time we use are voice and are internet to fight the powers that be. send a message to espn send a message to cnn msnbc foxnews any and everybody get the word out and dont let this die.

  • John A / Washington DC

    Reply to Kevin/ Indianapolis – There is nothing in my background that would support me having a timid bone in my body. Cowards such as Mr. Greenberg and anyone who supports his comments such as yourself, make excuses ( i.e. he misspoke or he slipped ) to avoid and diffuse the central issue which is the racist on air remark. At this point his remark appears to be supported by ESPN. Be a man and stand by the comment because you can run but you can’t hide.

    Better yet tough guy I want you to go into any NFL, NBA, NCAA, or team sport locker room , stand in the middle and repeat Mr. Greenberg’s racist statement.

    Nothing comes to sleepers but a dream. I not asleep on this issue and no matter how your clueless mind thinks, the rest of the American public will be informed.

    ps. Don’t waste our time with your excuses because we are AWAKE will not buy into your LAME responses. I hope you know what i.e means. If not, go look it up.

  • steven

    As a 52 year old Black Man from Chicago,I have said Martin Luther King’s name at least 5,000 times and have never made that dumb ass mistake. That crap only comes from stupid,ignorant ,racist White people . I’ll never watch the show again. Iwonder if he will be suspended or promoted. Most likely promoted. Everyone ‘s entitled to their opinion .That’s mine.

  • jane doe

    The comments posted by John A reflects the sentiments of most morons.
    As to Steve, gee well just cause YOU never made that mistake it is impossible that someone else wouldn’t? It is not all about you. Furthermore maybe you HAVE made that mistake 4,999 times but no one corrected you because you are black. You are just looking to lynch.

  • John A / Washington DC

    Reply to Jane Doe/ Come out of the closet and admit you are a racist who hides behind anonymity. Wow, you even had the grace to earlier confess on this blog to calling a clerk a Nigger. I bet that word has been in your lexicon for a lifetime. No matter, keep hiding behind you fictitious name because I understand why you hide shame.

    You mentioned the term lynch when you addressed Steve’s comment. I bet you do not have a clue to what lynch means. However, here is your opportunity to look it up before you type it again. Please keep responding with your imbecilic, half-witted, retarded, and idiotic comments. Perhaps you will achieve the true distraction you and ESPN wish. to conceal.

    This issue is not about John A so don’t try to draw attention from the main point. Bottom line is Mike Greenberg made a racist statement about Martin Luther King and you support the statement.

    OWN UP TO IT !

    ps. Its ok you can come out closet now.

  • jane doe

    get over yourself. your ego is bigger than your brain. you (wrongly) assume Greenberg was talkin about MLK the way Jesse Jackson talks about Jews and you’re all ready to lynch. Stop actin like the KKK

  • http://LarryBrown.com Tony C

    The spineless moguls have scandalously unreported the racist comments of Mike David Duke Greenberg. Why? Is ESPN sending a message ? If so, jane doe and that racist termite counterpart of yours, kevin tell the world!

  • http://LarryBrown.com Tony C

    Serena Williams has shown the world her campionship genes. For her to reapeatly defeat the racist or bias commentators like Mary Cirillo and Dick Enberg is defining. Also, the Australians are born racist termites. Kudos to Serena,Venus,Mother and Father!

  • http://LarryBrown.com Tony C

    champion