Race Slippery on the Tongue for ESPN Morning Talk Show

January 19, 2010

Popular ESPN morning talk show host Mike Greenberg found himself in some hot water this morning after letting out a slip of the tongue on-air while trying to say "Martin Luther King Jr.," instead saying "Martin Luther Coon Jr."

He issued an apology later today. I don't know how much this unfortunate slip of the tongue reveals about Greenberg, as this is the first time he's had a slip up like this in over ten years of broadcasting, but what is interesting to me is how similar this slip-up looks like compared to this Youtube clip of a 1965 Alabama mayor doing the same thing.
Incidentally, five years ago a television weatherman made a similar mistake, apologized, but was fired from his job.

It'll be interesting to see how the public receives this, given the prevalence of sportscasters' other racial slurring.


Alvin Lin


Alvin Lin was born in Taipei, Taiwan and hails from New England. He blogs about Asian American pop culture, film, music, literature and politics, as well as relevant news around the world. He also writes for Imprint Talk. Alvin has degrees from Cornell and MIT.



this is a pretty singular "slip" -- one that a person is really NOT likely to make unless the MLCoon combination is something his tongue is USED to saying. the speaker would have to be so accustomed to using "coon" that he'd have to make the conscious effort to break the habit in public, by swapping it out with the MLK's actual name? chills.