After receiving national and local scorn, a Kansas City sports radio station has suspended a host who invoked the dead son of Chiefs coach Andy Reid on Monday.
‘Taken off the air until further notice’
Union Broadcasting, which owns and operates Sports Radio 810 WHB, posted a statement on the station’s website on Tuesday:
“We are aware of the controversial comments made by Kevin Kietzman during yesterday’s broadcast of “Between the Lines.” We have decided to take the immediate step to take Kevin off the air until further notice as we review this matter.
“We take Kevin’s comments and those of all on-air staff seriously. Kevin’s comments were clearly not to his or our standards. Please know that we will take necessary appropriate actions.
“We sincerely apologize to Andy Reid and his family, the Kansas City Chiefs organization and our loyal listeners and share their concerns.”
Kietzman was not on the air Tuesday, with fill-in guests on during his time slot.
Keitzman issues statement
Approximately two hours after his show began Tuesday, Kietzman tweeted out a two-minute audio clip and claimed that Reid’s son’s death was not on his mind when he made his Monday comments that referenced Reid’s “family life” and how Reid has “had a lot of things go bad on him.”
With sincerest apologies to coach Andy Reid. pic.twitter.com/sVYpYBChbU— kevin kietzman (@kkwhb) June 25, 2019
“What I said has been interpreted by many as hurtful, insensitive and cold,” Kietzman said. “And in hearing from listeners and re-listening to what I said, I can understand why. I can barely find the words to say out loud what some people believed I was trying to convey. I never mentioned and would never, ever suggest that Coach Reid was at fault for his son’s tragic death. Or that any parent would be at fault for such an unspeakable tragedy.”
Kietzman said he had reached out to Reid via the Chiefs, who said the coach was unavailable.
‘It did not work out well in his family’
On Monday during his show, which airs from 2-6 p.m. weekdays, Kietzman was discussing the Chiefs’ handling of the Tyreek Hill situation — after Yahoo Sports senior NFL writer Terez Paylor reported that Hill will meet with league officials this week to discuss the child abuse investigation into Hill — when he made a comment that has been widely interpreted as taking a shot at Reid and his late son, Garrett.
Garrett Reid died of an accidental heroin overdose in 2012, when Andy was the Philadelphia Eagles head coach. Garrett was working as an assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Eagles when he died at the team’s training camp facility.
“Andy Reid does not have a great record of fixing players. He doesn’t. Discipline is not his thing,” Kietzman said. “It did not work out particularly well in his family life and that needs to be added to this as we’re talking about the Chiefs. He wasn’t real great at that either. He’s had a lot of things go bad on him, family and players. He is not good at fixing people. He is not good at discipline. That is not his strength. His strength is designing football plays.”
In a series of tweets Monday night, Kietzman denied that he was talking about Garrett Reid’s death.
But he also wrote that when Reid hired his sons Garrett and Britt, both of whom had served time on drug-related and other charges — Britt has been an assistant coach with the Chiefs since his father was hired — their situation “was no longer a private matter.”
Kietzman said it would be “despicable” to blame Andy Reid for Garrett’s death and that it never crossed his mind.
In reading his words from Monday, it’s hard to believe Kietzman’s explanation.
Fans started petition
Chiefs fans were so upset by Kietzman’s comments that they began an online petition to get Kietzman fired; as of this writing, nearly 3,000 people had signed it.
While that’s not an overwhelming number, Kietzman’s comments drew the attention of several national outlets, including Yahoo, Deadspin, and Sports Illustrated. Other media members were harshly critical of Kietzman as well.
ESPN’s Louis Riddick tweeted, “Whoever this clown is that said this, you are trash for referencing Andy Reid and his family and his son.”
However, it’s not as simple as firing Kietzman — he’s an original investor in WHB and remains a minority owner.
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