San Diego Chargers radio analyst Hank Bauer was suspended for one game for an anti-Semitic “joke.”
At the end of the broadcast of the pre-season game between the Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers, Bauer made an idiotic comment that stereotyped Jews for being cheap. The Chargers subsequently pulled him off the next game’s broadcast.
Josh Lewin, who is Jewish, has been Bauer’s broadcast partner for 10 years.
In the final seconds of the NFL game in question (a 21-7 San Francisco victory), Bauer and Lewin were bantering about the expensive season tickets are at the 49ers new stadium (Levi’s Stadium) in Santa Clara. Noting that many fans had already left the venue, Lewin suggested that he would have stayed in his seat until the end of the game.
Bauer then chimed in for no apparent reason, “But then again you know how copper wire was invented? Somebody dropped a penny between Josh and his family member.” Perhaps as damage control, Bauer added “I say that respectfully and endearingly, my partner.”
Lewin professionally let the comments pass and continued with the game wrap-up.
The Chargers subsequently suspended Bauer for the final pre-season game against the Arizona Cardinals, although he is scheduled to return to the booth once the regular season begins.
In a statement, the Charger announced that “Although we know Hank had no ill-will behind his remarks, we agree the comments were inappropriate. Per Clear Channel’s decision, Hank will not be broadcasting Thursday night’s game… “
Clear Channel owns the Chargers’ network flagship station.
Bauer has been working Chargers’ games on the radio since 1998. He was a running back for the Chargers from 1977 to 1982 and holds the NFL single-season record for most special teams tackles with 52.
Hank Bauer later issued an apology on Twitter:
I made a hurtful insinuation that I regret and I would like to express how sorry I am. My poor choice of words were unfortunately open for— Hank Bauer (@hank_bauer) August 26, 2014
negative interpretation, please know it was never my intention to offend any of my listeners. I hope you accept my apology.— Hank Bauer (@hank_bauer) August 26, 2014
Given his anti-Jewish remarks, should Hank Bauer step down from the broadcast booth rather than just serve a meaningless one-game suspension?