Kansas City sports fans have spent several days discussing the mutual agreement between longtime local sports talk show host Kevin Kietzman and WHB (810 AM) to part ways.
Kietzman has always been a controversial figure, but callers love to add fuel to any fire. They love to try to convince listeners that they are knowledgeable about the various topics of discussion. Kietzman was always talked about because he was one of the main pot stirrers in that business. He was a reality radio host.
Before I go any further, Kevin Kietzman would never make it on my Christmas card list, and I know he could care less. I still believe this unfortunate situation can become a teachable moment for everyone in the business of sports. Perhaps people will see the importance of civility and class during an emotional discussion of sports.
It is way past time to begin to understand that you need to walk in the same shoes as a player, coach or administrator before passing judgment. On the other side of the coin, players, coaches and administrators need to understand the job of the media and all parties need to remain on a professional level.
As a high school administrator, I would often encounter angry parents of a student-athlete. My words of advice were always that every parent needs to coach, and every coach needs to be a parent in order for each to understand the stance of the other.
The same rule follows for the media. The degree of coverage varies for each level of sports. High school athletes and coaches should not be scrutinized the same as a college or pro athlete. They are simply kids who can easily do something stupid.
My good friend Bill Althaus covers local sports for The Examiner. During my career as a coach and athletic director, it was necessary to discipline students for mistakes made by them. Many of those students were high-profile high school athletes. Bill understood better than anyone that they were just kids. I never provided him with details of a violation of the code of conduct, and he would report merely that the athlete was disciplined for a violation of the code of conduct.
The world did not need to know the nature of a student’s mistake. It does become a much different scenario in the case of a college or pro athlete who chooses to cross the line. They are adults who in many cases are highly paid to represent an organization. Andy Reid, Ned Yost, Bill Self, et al, get paid the big bucks to run their programs and the media has a responsibility to cover it all.
However, it is possible to cover it responsibly with the use of common sense, civility and class. A problem develops when the person covering the team becomes bigger in his or her own mind than the team being covered.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion and sports debates are usually fun. Nothing is better for me than being an old man on the golf course with a bunch of buddies who wind up the day at the 19th hole holding a discussion about the latest sports events. We are not of the caliber of an ESPN broadcaster or analyst, but we can air out our take on daily events.
When I need a good laugh every now and then, I will tune in to various shows to listen to all the knowledge being pontificated.
It is the times when a line is crossed that we need to back off. Personal comments about someone’s family is that red line. All families go through some tough situations that only family could possibly understand. A sport talk show is NOT the place to discuss such matters.
As I age, I have learned that it is important to understand the other side before going off on a tangent. Sports associates are in the sport because they love it and the people associated with it. We have enough divisiveness in our lives. It is not necessary to bring that garbage into the sports world.
No one has all the answers, and all entities have a tough job. Professionalism and respect should prevail in every sports situation. Civility and class need to remain an important part of our society or we are all in big trouble.
• My quote of the week comes from American clergyman Henry Ward Beecher: “Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself – and be lenient to everyone else.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.