Alou: 'I feel bad about people being fired'

Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2005

ATLANTA — While saying he regrets the firing of three radio station employees, San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou wouldn't back down Wednesday from his condemnation of racially tinged comments directed at him and his players.

''I feel bad about people being fired,'' Alou said before a game against the Atlanta Braves. ''It wasn't my intention, but I didn't start it and I took a stand.''

The Giants' flagship station, KNBR, fired talk-show host Larry Krueger, who ranted about the struggling team during his postgame radio show last week. He complained about too many ''brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly'' and said Alou's ''mind has turned to Cream of Wheat.''

Krueger apologized and initially was suspended for a week without pay. The station announced in a brief statement Tuesday night that the host had been fired, along with program manager Bob Agnew and KNBR Morning Show producer Tony Rhein.

Tony Salvadore, KNBR's vice president and general manager, said the firings were related to ''inappropriate comedy sound bytes'' played Tuesday morning during a discussion of Alou's recent interview with ESPN, in which he roundly criticized KNBR and Krueger.

Alou resigned from his regular radio show with the station and warned his players to be on the lookout for racial prejudice in San Francisco.

''I want people to understand that it's a social issue,'' Alou said. ''I want to make people aware of that so they will know that in the United States, it won't be tolerated.''

Most of the hosts and callers to KNBR in recent days supported Krueger, saying some of his remarks were made in the heat of excitement, while others were taken out of context by Alou.

Krueger seemed supportive of Alou during many of the comments in his rant, saying the manager was ''a brilliant tactician'' whose job was nearly impossible because of the Giants' personnel decisions.

Gary Radnich, a San Francisco television sportscaster who has hosted a weekday show on KNBR since 1992, appeared visibly upset by the firings when he appeared on his Tuesday evening newscast.

''Felipe Alou got rolling, got a head of steam up, and in this politically correct world, you don't get a second chance any more,'' Radnich said. He also characterized Agnew as a ''sacrificial lamb.''

Said Alou, ''I know maybe I overreacted, but it was a reaction to what he said. I don't have to react anymore.''

''It was their decision,'' he said of the station. ''Hopefully, they understand that people are not going to sit still and be put down like that. In the USA, I don't believe there is any room for that.''

The Giants issued a statement saying they ''are saddened by the series of events over the last few days that have resulted in the dismissal of three KNBR employees, with whom the Giants have worked closely for a number of years.''

''We had hoped that the situation could have been resolved without the termination of anyone,'' the team said. ''However, in light of the events of (Tuesday), we respect KNBR management's decision to proceed in this manner.''

The statement concluded: ''We hope that everyone can learn from these unfortunate events and move forward.''

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