A fireable offense.
Those are the only ways to describe the inexcusable and racist tweet that Tony Bruno sent forth on Friday after the benches cleared during a game between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.
With his mood apparently as charged as the atmosphere at AT&T Park, the nationally-syndicated Fox Sports radio host — and native Philadelphian — took aim at Giants pitcher Ramon Ramirez(notes) after he intentionally planted a pitch into the back of Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino(notes).
gutless #!@%*# Giants. Bochy is a coward for having his illegal alien pitcher hit a guy since mighty Frisco boys ...
We never found out where those ellipses were going, because, as Bay Area Sports Guy reports, Bruno stopped his rant and quickly deleted his tweet.
But it was too late. Many people had already re-tweeted the offensive remark and Bruno's Facebook and @Twitter replies started filling up with comments from outraged fans who couldn't believe he had said such a thing. Over his long career with all of the big radio networks — he has has clocked time for ESPN, Sporting News and Fox Sports, among others — Bruno had never developed a reputation as a shock jock.
But with people demanding an explanation for the outburst, Bruno issued the classic non-apology apology on his Facebook page. Here's what he wrote:
I did remove my post and apologize for my comments regarding illegal aliens. I was angry and on the air and I stand behind my comments that Bruce Bochy is a coward, as are all managers who order pitchers to throw at guys just because their pitchers can't get a guy out. All of you people resorting to name calling are more classless and vile.
So, to recap: Bruno is sorry for calling Ramirez — a native of the Dominican Republic — an illegal alien. But Bruce Bochy and the rest of us who were offended that Bruno would make a public statement like that are still the real jerks in this mess.
Completely missing in that statement? Anything that looks like a shred of genuine remorse.
What Bruno said on Friday night is much worse than Rod Allen's "rice and beans" comment a couple of weeks ago, of course. In that case, Allen's slip was a comment mistakenly delivered without any context that would have removed the stereotypical bent from its delivery.
Bruno, though, doesn't have any defense here.
Yes, it's possible to get heated and angry during a sporting even when you're a fan. But you just don't call someone an "illegal alien" — much less type it into Twitter and distribute it to your 12,000+ followers — by accident. Former major league pitcher Mike Bacsik made an insensitive comment on Twitter about the San Antonio Spurs' Latino fans last year and paid for it by being fired from his radio job in Dallas.
Should Bruno face the same fate? Maybe spending parts of five decades in the radio business will save him, but there is no doubt he lost a lot more fans by turning off his brain and writing such a thing. At the very least, he owes Ramon Ramirez and his listeners —what's left of them, anyway — an apology that's much more contrite.
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