Hank Bauer and Josh Lewin have been radio partners on San Diego Chargers broadcasts since 2005. That long-standing relationship doesn't excuse the anti-Semitic joke that Bauer, a color commentator for the team since 1998, directed at play-by-play man Lewin, who is Jewish, during the final moments of Sunday's exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers as the pair were discussing the pricey seats at Levi's Stadium, the 49ers new $1.3 billion stadium:
Lewin: "If there's a personal seat license you gotta pay for … "
Bauer: "There is."
Lewin: "I'd sit in it … "
Bauer: "No question."
Lewin: "For a long time. But a lot of these fans used their seat for about an hour today."
Bauer: "But then again you know how copper wire was invented? Somebody dropped a penny between Josh and his family member."
Lewin: "OK, alright. We've got, let's see, 30 seconds mercifully remaining in this game … "
Bauer: "I say that respectfully and endearingly, my partner."
Lewin: "Love you too, buddy."
Bauer took to Twitter to issue an apology.
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
Bauer was suspended for the team's final preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. The team issued the following statement:
"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," the statement said. "Hank has been a strong radio voice for the Chargers for the past 16 years and a passionate supporter of the team since his playing days. We look forward to Chargers fans receiving the same high-quality broadcast from Josh (Lewin) and Hank when he returns to the booth for the regular season."
Of note, the statement points out it was Clear Channel Communications' decision to pull Bauer from the booth. Clear Channel owns Rock 105.3 KIOZ, the franchise's flagship radio station.