HBO host Bill Maher apologized on Saturday for using the n-word during a live interview with Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. The interview, which aired during a live broadcast of Maher’s show Real Time on Friday night, featured Maher and Sasse discussing the lines between maturity and adolescence, and adults who still dress up for Halloween.
The segment can be seen here:
Maher issued his apology for the remark on Saturday, saying: “Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show. Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry.”
HBO quickly reprimanded Maher for his words. The network said in a statement, “Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless. We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show.”
All this is to be expected from an organization, in this case a cable network, which has a host who says something wrong and inappropriate. So why then, have the Mets and Major League Baseball remained silent?
Bill Maher is a minority owner of the New York Mets. How is it that one of their minority owners can say something like this without, apparently, any repercussion whatsoever? Sure, Maher is not your normal minority owner, he’s a comedian, and as such gets far more latitude in the world of controversy and insults.
However, if the Michael Richards incident taught us anything, it’s that if there’s one word in the English vocabulary that a non-black comedian had better avoid, it’s the n-word. So why does Maher get a pass?
Rush Limbaugh felt compelled to resign from ESPN for merely saying that the sports media wanted to see a black quarterback do well. Yet, MLB and the Mets let Maher skate by without so much as a reprimand.
What makes the Mets and MLB’s stance even more perplexing is the hard stance the league has recently taken on racial epithets. When Orioles outfielder Adam Jones claimed to be racially heckled, allegedly, by Boston fans the Red Sox banned a fan for life and the league considered a thorough review of how teams handle instances of racial insults by fans.
If the league is so concerned about racism and the damage the words associated with it can cause, even from random fans, then why would they suffer an owner using it? Or, does something only become racist when a random fan, or a Republican, says it?
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn