Indianapolis Colts play-by-play announcer Bob Lamey gave no hints about retirement in an Aug. 6 chat with WTHR-TV’s Bob Kravitz, saying, “This is where I have fun,” and “I enjoy being around young guys, watching this team get better.”
But less than two weeks later, Lamey abruptly announced his retirement from a job he had held — barring a short stretch away from the booth in the 1990s — since the Colts arrived in Indianapolis from Baltimore in 1984.
“I have had a great deal of fun for 35 years, and it’s time,” Lamey said in a Sunday story on the team’s website that announced his retirement.
Said Colts owner Jim Irsay, “Bob Lamey is a legend and icon, and his name is synonymous with Indianapolis Colts football.”
Left unsaid in the Colts’ announcement was the apparent reason for Lamey’s departure: Just days before announcing his retirement, the 79-year-old white man had used the n-word in retelling a story to a black employee of Emmis Communications, which owns the radio station that airs Colts games in Indianapolis. (Lamey was an employee of the Colts, however.)
Jennie Runevitch of WTHR has the report:
The employee says Lamey used a racial slur off the air, in a conversation after a radio interview last Tuesday at Colts Camp. She says he was telling a story about when he worked at [Indianapolis Motor Speedway], sharing what someone else said at the track. “He had asked me if the mics were off and I said, ‘Yeah, I turned everything off. You’re fine,’ ” the employee recalled. “Bob Lamey’s describing this person saying he was asked in an interview, ‘Do you think anyone’s holding back their speed at IMS during [qualifying]? Do you think anyone’s holding back?’ And that person had replied ‘there aren’t any ‘blank’ in this race.”
She says Lamey didn’t say “blank” in retelling that story, and used a racial slur. “He said the ‘N-word,’ yeah. He thought it was OK to use that type of language at work. He was like, ‘Oh I’m so so sorry. I’m so sorry if you’re offended by this. I didn’t mean to offend anyone’ and I was like ‘I’m black and I wouldn’t ever say that word’ and sort of just told him how it hurt me and how I don’t think he should say it ever, even if he’s telling a story,” the radio employee said.
Despite an immediate apology from Lamey and his pleas that the employee not tell anyone about the incident, the employee emailed the Emmis Communications human resources department one day later. Emmis officials then reached out to the Colts, who confronted Lamey about the incident Saturday, according to Runevitch’s report. The next day, the team announced his retirement.
James H. Voyles, Lamey’s attorney, issued a statement Tuesday night maintaining the announcer had retired and was not fired but admitted that Lamey had used an “inappropriate word.”
“It should be noted that Bob does want to acknowledge that while repeating a story while off-the-air last week to a friend at a local radio station, he used an inappropriate word that had been used in the story,” Voyles said in the statement. “Bob immediately apologized to the people involved for the comment and would hope that this error in judgment would not tarnish his long-held reputation in the sports community where he has been known as an accurate and passionate reporter.”
The Colts also said Lamey resigned after making a “serious mistake.”
“Bob publicly acknowledged that last week he repeated an inappropriate word when telling a story,” the team said in a statement issued Wednesday. “He immediately apologized to the people who heard him use the word, and then promptly resigned.
“Bob has a long and storied history in our community, but he made a serious mistake. We are deeply disappointed the incident took place and offer our sincerest regrets to all who were impacted by Bob’s lack of judgment.”
Matt Taylor, the Colts’ manager of radio broadcasting and a sideline reporter for the team’s preseason games, will handle the team’s play-by-play duties until a permanent replacement for Lamey is found, the team said. Taylor called the team’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.
Read more from The Post: