REARDON: Lets Sit & Talk About the Flub Before Anyone Gets Fired

Kevin Steincross and John Gaskin of the St. Louis County NAACP have both agreed to a lunch meeting together before this goes any further

Mark Reardon
January 24, 2019 - 3:53 pm
Kevin Steincross inside the KMOX newsroom.

(KMOX file photo)

I’m holding out hope. I’m writing this with hope my friend Kevin Steincross, a news anchor and reporter for FOX2 in St. Louis, hasn’t been fired.

It seems ridiculous to me that I even had to write that line. We’ve gone down this deep rabbit hole in this country when it comes to race relations – and it’s turned into complete insanity.

If you need a refresher on what has happened to Kevin in the past week here’s a story from our local paper from earlier this week.

I chose that story for a reason. The headline is completely misleading—he "inserted???" Insulting, inaccurate and I’d go so far as to say libelous.

NO—he did NOT insert a slur. He didn’t even use a slur. Shame on the Post—but what’s new there? Especially when it comes to stoking the racial fires. 

You wanna know what really happened??? HE MISSPOKE!!! Talk to a linguist and they’ll tell you the reason people get tripped up on MLK’s full name is because of the “Luther” and “Junior”… Unfortunately sometime’s it comes out *sounding* like a racial slur. In Kevin’s case he really didn’t even say the word “coon." He said something more like “kuhn”… but it didn’t matter once the social justice warriors got involved.

I mentioned at the onset that Kevin is a friend. We are both fellow film critics and long-time members of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association. I was on an airplane with him the days before all this went down heading back from the Critics’ Choice Awards in LA. But John Gaskin is also a friend. John is the young leader of the St. Louis County NAACP. He’s been a panelist on my Friday “Reardon Roundtable” for years. He first caught my attention in the aftermath of Ferguson as a voice of reason.

Not this time. John was a guest on my show this week and even though he insisted he doesn’t believe Kevin said the word on purpose it doesn’t matter. Sometimes--Gaskin said-- there’s a line that is crossed and there need to be repercussions. You can hear that interview here:

But here’s the main problem with John’s argument: There was NO line that was crossed. How can you cross a line when you make a simple mistake.

Kevin mispronounced a word. Something all of us in broadcasting do on a regular basis. In this case it might cost him his career like the meteorologist who got tripped on the word recently as well.

Even Al Roker from NBC came to his defense tweeting:

"I think Jeremy Kappell made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize on News 10 NBC. Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I’ve done) understands," Roker tweeted. 

Exactly. And that’s what Kevin did—but in his case the word wasn’t even clear. Again—it was more like “kuhn”… but don’t worry, the facts don’t matter. 

I’ve said repeatedly on my show that it’s important to have an understanding that it is a hurtful term when used inappropriately … and that as a white dude it’s impossible to relate to the horrific racial bias and injustice that continues in this country way too often.

But this is *not* one of those cases … and taking down a guy’s career and life is wrong. So far his bosses at FOX2 haven’t done something stupid and fired him. I’m hoping calmer heads can prevail. I offered to arrange a sit-down or a lunch with John and Kevin. 

Both have told me they’re game.

So let’s do it—talk about the issues—and not sacrifice the career of a really good man.