Thursday, March 30, 2006

Slip of the Tongue

Just as I think I have it all figured out and know how someone will react, they surprise me.

A couple of weeks ago, a St Louis radio program host Dave Lenihan was commenting on the reports that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's name was being bantered around to be the new NFL commissioner. "It would be a big coon...," Lenihan blurted out. He meant to say "it would be a big coup for the NFL". He immediately apologized and said he combined "coup" with "NFL". Too late, he was fired in less than 20 minutes. As a former HR manager and current HR Guru for Hire, I would never had recommended that, but I digress. Anyhow, the station manger, obviously afraid that the Black community would come unglued and lawsuits and screaming would commence, went on the air to tell everyone that he was gone and that "there is enough hate." The St Louis NAACP President praised the station's action.

Then the unthinkable happened: Lenihan appeared at a news conference held by the NAACP. They called for his reinstatement at the station saying they believe he is sorry and that the incident provides a "teachable moment". The very same President said that he changed his mind after talking to other members who said that Lenihan would like to have the group's help in defusing the issue.

Lenihan and his wife announced that they had joined the NAACP and was going to be involved in a program to discourage drivers from fleeing police officers.

Unthinkable # 2 happened when a Post Dispatch columnist who writes on race issues also defended Mr Lenihan in a recent column.

When living in St Louis, I noted that the NAACP and the Columnist were usually quick to point out and condemn any slur or slight or discrimination against the Black community. They should, it is their job.

So what is this about forgiveness to Lenihan? It pleases me that everyone is being rational about this, but you have to wonder if this is not a carefully staged publicity stunt on both sides? Lenihan gets to be known as a martyr and the NAACP scores some points for a kinder and gentler group? Who knows, I can't figure it out.

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