Top 10 Famous Racists (Who Had No Idea When To Shut Up)

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Most everybody has said at least one thing they regret. Most of the time, however, that does not cost the person anything more than some potential embarrassment, or a very delicate situation. As things go higher and more public however, there is an increased likelihood of a fall, especially when the stupid thing you say is undeniably racist or bigoted. Here are some people who learned that particular lesson the hard way.

10. Steve Lyons

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Steve Lyons is a former professional baseball player. After his pro career was over, Lyons did what a lot of athletes do: become a broadcaster. For whatever reason, Fox Sports did not balk at hiring a guy whose nickname was “Psycho.” They soon learned that Lyons could be, well, a bit more embarrassing than Norman Bates showing up in some inappropriate wear for work.

Lyons fist set off warning bells for his comments on Shawn Green in 2004, after Green sat out a game during Yom Kippur: “He’s not even a practicing Jew. He didn’t marry a Jewish girl. And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, which is unfortunate, because he doesn’t get the money.”

That was bad, but merely earned ol’ Psycho a suspension. The firing came in 2006, after Lyons suggested that Lou Piniella, who is of Hispanic descent, might steal Lyon’s wallet if given half a chance. Lyons also stated that Piniella’s use of bilingual phrases was “hablaing Espanol.” Lyons is no longer on a national stage, but he does continue to work for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a broadcaster. This would be the same Dodgers organization, by the way, which helped break the color barrier in baseball. Apprently, forward thinking just gets old after awhile.

9. David Duke

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After college in Louisiana, David Duke established a splinter chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in which Duke was a Grand Wizard. Generally, that does not lead to a successful political career. But ol’ Duke has done OK for himself, locally anyhow. Duke managed to win office as a Representative in Louisiana, in spite of the fact that his Klan past was common knowledge. Duke even managed to garner votes for President … twice.

Here are some of Duke’s lowlights …

“These Jews who run things, who are producing this mental illness – teenage suicide… all these Jewish sicknesses. That’s nothing new. The Talmud’s full of things like sex with boys and girls.”

“The truth is there are two hundred white women raped in America by a black man for every one black woman raped by whites.”

“Our clear goal must be the advancement of the white race and separation of the white and black races. This goal must include freeing of the American media and government from subservient Jewish interests.”

It should be a death sentence to a political career. However, the fact that Duke has had a political, commenting, and publishing career leads one to believe that, without the racist past, Duke might have been a serious contender for the Presidency. However, it’s all but a certainty that Duke’s comments and beliefs will keep him from ever actually being elected to national office.

8. John Rocker

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John Rocker was a star pitcher from Macon, Georgia. In 1998, Rocker realized his dream of becoming a closer for the Atlanta Braves. Rocker’s success would be short-lived though; in 1999, John Rocker had an explosive interview with Sports Illustrated, which was full of Rocker’s personal observations about New York City. Rocker made derogatory comments about minorities, homosexuals, AIDS patients, and single mothers, and pretty much anyone else who wasn’t as pale as him. In reference to riding the subway in New York City, John Rocker said:

“I would retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through]Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some q**** with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”

Rocker continued…

“The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”

For his comments, Rocker was suspended for spring training in 2000, as well as 14 games. Over the next few years, Rocker’s comments, as well as declining talent, would cost him job after job in the Major Leagues. Ultimately, Rocker’s career lasted about five years. In addition, Rocker’s personality and comments easily took away any post-career opportunities such as broadcasting. In 2011, Rocker was still defensive about his comments in his autobiography Stars and Strikes, because the very worst thing a racist can possibly do is learn from their mistakes.

7. Rob Parker

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Ideally, Rob Parker should have had a story which was celebrated. In 1993, Parker was the first African-American sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press. Parker’s reputation as a writer and commentator for local television grew. However, Parker started to make thoroughly inexplicable comments, which started to lose him both work and livelihood.

In 2008, Parker’s relationship with the Detroit Free Press was frayed when he questioned then-Detroit Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli about Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry, who was Marinelli’s son-in-law. Parker asked Marinelli in a press conference if Marinells wished his daughter had “married a better defensive coordinator.” Parker’s permanent retreat from the public eye, however, was caused in December of 2012. Parker ranted about Washington Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III, who is also African-American. Parker questioned Griffin’s “blackness” and asked whether he was a “brother or a cornball brother:”

“Well, he’s black, he kind of does his thing. But he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one of us, he’s kind of black. But he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with because he’s off to do something else.”

Parker cited as “proof” that Griffin had a Caucasian finance, as well as the possibility that Griffin might be a rumored Republican. Parker has not appeared in the national spotlight since.

6. Don Imus

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In the 1960s, Don Imus won a talent competition, and eventually migrated into the world of morning radio in California. Imus built up his show Imus in the Morning over the course of four decades. In 2007, Imus was a nationally syndicated radio host who was simulcast by the cable network MSNBC. During one of his morning conversations on air, Imus referred to the mostly-black Rutgers women’s basketball team as “rough girls” (because they had tattoos) as well as “nappy-headed hos.”

Imus sparked a national controversy and was eventually dropped by both MSNBC and CBS radio over the comments. Imus responded by suing and claiming that the phrase had originated in the “black community.” Eventually, Imus found his way back on to the airwaves, striking a new deal with Fox Business to broadcast his show. The following year though, in 2008, Imus would again court racial controversy when he responded to learning that NFL player Adam “Pacman” Jones was African-American and had been arrested half a dozen times with, “Well, there you go. Now, you know.” For that comment, Imus actually received no disciplinary action, because Fox.

5. Marge Schott

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While owner of the Cincinnati Reds, Marge Schott was suspended from day-to-day operations with her own team not once but twice. In a deposition in 1992, Schott was accused of using derogatory comments about Jews, African-Americans, homosexuals and Asians. Schott reportedly referred to two of her players as her “million dollar n******.” For that, Schott was suspended from for the entire 1993 season. Schott returned to controversy in 1996. First, she seemed to blame an umpire’s death during a game for ruining her day at the ballpark. Schott also made comments about Hitler initially doing very good things for the German people. Schott’s exact statement was:

“”Everything you read, when he came in [to power]he was good…They built tremendous highways and got all the factories going…Everybody knows he was good at the beginning but he just went too far.”

Well, Schott clearly went too far. As a repeat offender, she was suspended until 1998. Schott would then sell Reds in 1999, and finally go away completely. As a lifelong smoker, she passed away from health complications in 2001.

4. Al Campanis

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Al Campanis had spent much of his professional career and life working with the Brooklyn /Los Angeles Dodgers, eventually becoming their General Manager. During his stint as GM, the Dodgers reached the World Series four times.

All of that good stuff would end on April 6th, 1987, when Campanis appeared on Nightline with Ted Koppel. Campanis was on the show to celebrate not only the opening of the Dodgers season, but also the 40th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier. Campanis chose to celebrate it, however, by slamming Robinson’s race. He insinuated that the reason why there were not more African-Americans in front office positions in Major League Baseball, was because they were simply not smart enough to handle the rigors of the position.

First, Campanis made the assertion that black managers may not want to go to the minor leagues and get less pay. Koppel pressed him…

Ted Koppel : Just tell me, why you think it is. Is there still that much prejudice in baseball today?

Al Campanis: No, I don’t believe it’s prejudice. I truly believe that they may not have some of the necessities to be, let’s say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager.

Ted Koppel: Do you really believe that?

Al Campanis: Well, I don’t say that all of them, but they certainly are short. How many quarterbacks do you have? How many pitchers do you have that are black?

Koppel gave Campanis several chances to renounce or soften the comments. Campanis did not. Two days later, Campanis resigned as manager of the Dodgers. Campanis would stay retired, and passed away a little over ten years later. To his dying day, Campanis believed that he had opened up an “honest discourse” about the subject or race and the front office. Once again, racists hate learning from their mistakes.

3. Jesse Jackson

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Most people know Jesse Jackson as a civil rights worker and frequent television celebrity. Without a Democratic incumbent in the 1984 primary, Jackson actually emerged as a popular and diverse choice for the Democratic nomination. Jackson’s Presidential hopes were largely dashed, however, when he referred to New York City as “Hymietown.” “Hymie” is a racial slur for Jewish people.

It did not help matters that Jackson initially denied that he had made the remarks. In addition to this, Jackson also thought he was off the record when he made the statement in front of a reporter. Jackson had stated in front of the reporter that it was time for “black talk,” which in his case meant “bash the Jews.” Jackson eventually admitted to the comment, and did not get the nomination. Jackson would try again in 1988 and lose out on the nomination again.

Now, there was probably little hope for Jackson to best Ronald Reagan in 1984; The Gipper was simply too popular. However, there is the chance that he might have lost as the first-ever African-American nominee of a major political party, if not for “Hymietown.”

2. Paula Deen

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Paula Deen initially turned a home cooking business into a local restaurant. Deen continued her success until she started to be featured on the fledgling Food Network in 1999. Deen would grow to be one of the Food Network’s biggest stars, with endorsement deals following through national chains. However, during a deposition filed in a harassment case by a former employee, Deen admitted to the court that she had, in fact, used racial slurs as well as told racially-based jokes. The National Enquirer and other news outlets started to report the story in June of 2013.

Deen testified:

ATTORNEY: “Miss Deen, have you told racial jokes? Have you ever used the N word yourself?”

Paula Deen: “Yes, of course.”

ATTORNEY: “In what context?”

Paula Deen: “Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.”

ATTORNEY: Well, then tell me the other context in which you’ve used the N word?

Paula Deen: I don’t know, maybe in repeating something that was said to me.

In addition, she admitted that, awhile back, she had considered a “Southern” wedding for her brother, which would have involved hiring all black waiters and dressing them up as slaves. In response, the Food Network decided not to renew Deen’s contract, and severed ties with her altogether. Deen’s various sponsorship deals also started to dry up. It is estimated that the controversy may end up costing Deen and her family over $17 million in lost revenue.

Deen has now become a lightning rod for those who did not want her career to continue. At this point, Deen’s television and publishing career may be effectively over, beyond what appears to be an extensive apology tour.

1. Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder

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Dimetrios Georgios Synodinos was better known throughout his sports broadcasting career as Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. Snyder also had a career as a bookmaker in Las Vegas. Often, his commentary would essentially be giving gambling advice on NFL football games. Snyder also worked nationally on CBS Sports “The NFL Today” for a dozen years.

All of that fell apart for Snyder in an interview which was done on January 16th, 1988. Snyder was fired by CBS for comments he made to a Washington DC reporter, postulating that African-Americans were naturally better athletes because they had been bred that way on slave plantations:

“The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way, because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs and he’s bred to be the better athlete because this goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trade … the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid … “

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Snyder himself never really recovered from the controversy. In 1991, he attempted to sue CBS for defamation of character, as well as resulting health problems from the firing. Snyder was out of the spotlight until his death via heart attack in 1996.


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30 Comments

    • Part of free speech is taking the flak when it all goes pear-shaped. Truman said something about “kitchen” and “heat”, as I remember….

  1. I wouldn’t consider a lot of these entries to be racists at all. If making a statement that can be considered by some people to be “racist” MAKES them a racist, then I must be religious for every time I “pray to God” for something, or for using any other religion-themed phrasing. …and by the way, when you think about it, The Greek’s comment actually makes quite a bit of sense.

    • But if you happen to suggest that whites are smarter or better than blacks in anyway, then you’re the devil. What a double standard.

    • I agree that Greek’s comments make sense… a little. Years of slavery probably had a little effect on the physical make-up of modern black people, that is just evolution in action. Living in certain conditions and then passing useful traits down to the next generation through heredity is fact and is one huge factor of evolution. This applies to every race too, evolution does not discriminate… but Greek also lived during a time when we knew a lot less about evolution… or else he would have realized 200 years as a slave did little for creating the modern black athlete than thousands or even millions of years living in Africa… He implied blacks are better than whites at athletics and he implied that white americans are somehow the creators of the modern black athlete, this is false. He is drawing a harsh line between races when in reality there is as much variation between white people and other white people (or any other race) as there is among white people and black people… this is especially true as time goes on and races blend.

  2. I dont care if a person is racist, just keep it to yourself. If you hate black people or jews, fine. Just dont communicate it with verbal or physical attacks against those groups you hate.

  3. First of all : all respect to all Religions and Races.
    To be honest , what David Duke said about Jews is 100% true in the US.
    All Media , Economy etc… are 75% run by Jews.
    While USA pays Billions to Israel, Many Americans are homeless and without Medical care.
    Hope one day Americans will Wake up and stop being ruled from others.
    Peace ..

  4. I don’t know if I would consider Rob Parker a racist. He is just an idiot. I mean, how can you be a racist toward your own race? All he was trying to do was compare RG III to a certain image of a black man in the black community, which is just stereotyping, in my book. Granted, it was a stupid comparision, but that doesn’t make him a racist.

    • exactly, however people tend to blur the line between stereotyping and racism. Which in my honest opinion is ridiculous. I can’t say i would consider paula dean telling a “racial joke” as racist. The basis for all jokes is racists, sexist, or stereotype invoking which is what gives the joke it’s punch. If say a joke of this sort classifies a person as racist 100% of the population is a racist and/or bigot. However the wedding comment (which i haven’t seen quoted) took it a little too far. Though like i said i haven’t seen this quoted so i can’t say how true it is none the less it was an extremely wrong comment.

  5. David Duke was never a serious contender for the Presidency. He was always a fringe candidate no matter what party he ran with.

  6. Let’s face it. Racism will never go away. There isn’t a technology that we can obtain to end racism. Being that like corruption, racism isn’t going to ever go away at least we can minimalize it and the only way possible to do that would be through humor and not denial.

  7. ok… so for the last entry, even though it may have not been clearly stated in our american history books, it is a fact that slaves, no matter what race, be it african, jew, european or whatever race, they were picked by how strong and healthy they were because they were used as cheap/free labor??? so because some ‘famous’ person decides to say what he learned in school, albeit in a non-politically correct way, he’s a racist? really, everyone is ‘racist’ and ‘biased’ towards alot of things. just the people who actually have the balls to say it get crucified for speaking their mind. if you want to say something non-politically correct, leave it at the dinner table or with other people who think like you do.

  8. David Williams on

    An otherwise fine list is marred by the inclusion of Al Campanis. Everyone in the Dodger organization knew that Al had a habit of malapropism — using the wrong words to say what he thought. What I remember, and what everyone else seems to have forgotten, was that after this on-air error, the black players on the Dodgers stood up for Campanis, saying that he was not a racist AT ALL. Davey Lopes said that when he was coming up throught the Dodgers minor league system, the best friend that the young black players had was Al Campanis. Al Campanis was also a former teammate and personal friend of Jackie Robinson, who is not remembered as a man who easily befriended racists. Hasn’t his reputation been smeared long enough? I hate racists, but Campanis doesn’t fit into that category.

  9. Don Imus doesn’t really belong on here or at least not so high. What he did wasn’t really racist. It was a comment that was meant to be controversial (as he was supposed to do since that was his job) that was perhaps a bit too far but people just blew it way out of proportion. If he has said similar remarks to any other race no one would have thought any thing of it.
    Also the details about his lawsuit are wrong. He sued because they violated their contract. It explicitly said that he hired to make “irreverent” and “controversial” comments. That’s why CBS settled.

    • Well, he succeeded, didn’t he? Stop apologizing for the guy; he knew the job was dangerous when he took it. You juggle enough hand grenades, you should not be astounded when one blows up on you.

  10. Aileen Nelms on

    I am not a racist in any fashion. I accept everyone for who they are as people no matter the color. That being said, that does not mean I might have never made an offbeat joke about someone’s race. Everyone has done it and if they say they haven’t then they are lying. Just because these people are in the spot light does not make them less human. We are entitled to our opinions no matter who we are even if it’s a racist remark here and there. I’m sorry, but I believe our world has become too PC where no one can state an opinion about someone else, whether right or wrong in the public view, because of PC terms. We are becoming a society of people who have to follow one way or be ostracized from society. We are not the stepford wives or clones. Free speech is still free speech. if you don’t like what you see on tv, change the channel. If you don’t like what you hear on the radio, change the channel. If you’re in front of someone who is upsetting you, walk away.

    • They should put an asterisk at the end of the 1st Amendment and it should read something like this
      *This does not include any comments about people who feel like they have been royally screwed because of something that happened to their (presumably) ancestors hundreds and hundred of years ago. It does, however, include the ability of the aforementioned race(s) to refer to each other using the same “names” which are offensive to them if anybody else uses them. Double standards should be completely ignored.

  11. I don’t think Paula Deen is racist because she said Nigger but her ideal of a slave wedding shows her true colors. And why is Jimmy the Greek number 1? That’s some real truth he said, it’s just one of the genetic problems caused by slavery. The same way that African Americans are more likely to get heart disease then any other race.

  12. Jimmy the Greek was actually right. If a black person said it it wouldnt be rascist, right? Just because hes Greek and talks about blacks doesnt make him rascist. I agree with Ronnie and Bri. I’m black and HATE how sensitive blacks are toward rascism. If I had more common sense, I wouldnt have read through all of them. I was debating on if it was even worth commenting on.

  13. You forgot the biggest racist of them all! Al sharp tongue!!! He has caused more stirred up hate then the rest put together! Get real!!

  14. How is Chris Rock and Spike Lee not on this list? They’re real racists not someone who used a racist word 20 years ago.

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