SAN FRANCISCO -- Two radio station employees who were fired
over racially tinged remarks made about San Francisco Giants
players sued their former employer, claiming they were used as
scapegoats in the flap.
Talk-show host Larry Krueger and producer Tony Rhein accused the
Giants' flagship station, KNBR-AM, of firing them to appease the
team so it wouldn't pull its broadcast contract with the station.
Cancellation of the contract could have jeopardized owner
Susquehanna Radio's pending sale of KNBR and 33 other stations,
they alleged. KNBR owns approximately 1.5 percent of the team.
The flap began when Krueger ranted about the struggling Giants
after their Aug. 3 loss to the Colorado Rockies. He complained
about too many "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop
nightly" and said manager Felipe Alou's "mind has turned to Cream
Krueger apologized and was suspended for a week without pay.
Tony Salvadore, KNBR's vice president and general manager, later
announced the firings of Krueger, Rhein and program manager Bob
Agnew after KNBR's morning crew played "inappropriate comedy sound
bytes" mocking Alou's reaction to the remarks six days later.
The lawsuits, filed separately Friday in San Francisco County
Superior Court, charged Susquehanna Radio, KNBR and Salvadore with
wrongful termination and defamation, among other things.
They claimed Salvadore had praised Krueger's remarks as
"fantastic" and ordered the clip to be replayed on the air and
posted on the station's Web site.
Krueger and Rhein also said a statement by Salvadore posted on
KNBR's Web site explaining the firings omitted key facts of the
case and damaged their professional reputations, according to the
suits, which ask for unspecified amounts in damages.
Salvadore could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.