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Radio Host Tony Bruno Calls Giants Pitcher an “Illegal Alien” on Twitter

Ramon-Ramirez.jpg

CREDIT: flickr / Keith Allison

An errant pitch by San Francisco Giant Ramón Ramirez sparked more than just a bench-clearing brawl between the Giants and the visiting Philadelphia Phillies last week, and possible suspensions for both Ramirez and catcher Eli Whiteside won’t be the most significant result of the incident. Instead, a local radio host’s racist diatribe against the Dominican pitcher overshadowed the incident itself.

In a Twitter post after the game, radio host Tony Bruno called Ramirez an “illegal alien” and Giants Manager Bruce Bochy a “coward” in reference to the play:

@TonyBrunoShow: “gutless #!@%*# Giants. Bochy is a coward for having his illegal alien pitcher hit a guy since mighty Frisco boys …”

Even ignoring the numerous reasons why the term illegal is insulting enough, calling a legal immigrant an “illegal alien” is a hateful, senseless statement. Bruno has been criticized by a broad spectrum of individuals—and rightly so. Bochy didn’t mince his words, saying that “for a guy to make a racist comment like that and have the ear of so many people, that bothers me. I can defend myself as a coward. I don't know if you can defend yourself making a racist comment.” Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, was even more direct, calling Bruno “a pig.”

Nearly as disgusting as the tweet itself was the classic, non-apology apology that Bruno posted on his Facebook page in response to critics:

Saddened to see the vulture mentality and bad knowledge by the manywho have joined the sheep on facebook,twitter and blogs who did not hear my radio show yet jump to conclusions about me without knowing a single thing about me or my 40 year career,” he wrote. “My stupid and insensitive twitter post was up less than 1 minute before I realized it was caustic, it was removed immediately and I typed a quick apology on twitter and here. Since I was doing my live radio show, I apologized more emphatically on the air, and the podcast is available on my website(tonybrunoshow.com, hour 3) for those who choose to actually get some facts to go along with the hearsay or bloggers who spread falsehoods about my apology not being “sincere”.

Bruno then spends the second half of the post defending his decision to call Bochy a coward. Read his full “apology” here.

While Bruno’s decision to immediately remove the tweet and issue apologies on several mediums is commendable, it doesn’t make his original comment any less insulting. It wouldn’t matter if Bruno decided to delete the tweet a millisecond after it went live; the fact that he posted it in the first place shows a huge lapse in judgment on his part.

Additionally, the holier-than-thou attitude Bruno exudes in his Facebook post is truly disgusting. As a nationally syndicated radio host, Bruno is rightly held to a higher standard than most. He has absolutely no standing to attack those who have blasted him, and his attempt to do so is nothing more than a feeble effort to move the spotlight off of him. Neither Bochy, nor Nogales, nor any of the numerous well-respected writers who criticized Bruno have said anything “vile” or “profane,” and Bruno’s decision to call anyone commenting on the story “hearsay [sic] bloggers who spread falsehoods” is simply insulting.

Whether Bruno deserves to be fired is debatable, but he certainly needs to own up to his comments instead of lashing out at his critics. Deleting a post that never should have been written to begin with should not make him immune to the “sheep” who have criticized him.

As the old axiom goes—or, perhaps, should go—think before you tweet.

Jeffrey Boxer is an intern with Campus Progress.

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