INDIANAPOLIS — An off-the-air racial slur prompted the immediate retirement of longtime Indianapolis Colts’ radio voice Bob Lamey last weekend, team officials and Lamey’s attorney confirmed Wednesday.
Local attorney James Voyles issued a statement acknowledging Lamey used “inappropriate” language during a conversation with a friend at a local radio station and apologized immediately.
“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’ statement read. “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.”
A report on a local television’s station website, WTHR.com, claimed an employee at Emmis Communications heard the comment and reported it to the radio station’s human resources department, which then contacted the Colts.
It’s not the first time Lamey’s words have caused controversy. But what happened last week the Colts found intolerable. The announcement of Lamey’s retirement after 31 years with the Colts came Sunday.
He was replaced on Monday night’s radio broadcast by Matt Taylor.
Initially, the Colts attempted to paint his departure as the celebration of a Hall of Fame broadcasting career that spanned five decades. But after word leaked about the conversation and Voyles issued his public statement Wednesday morning, the Colts immediately took a different tack.
“In regards to Bob Lamey . first and foremost, the Colts deplore and do not tolerate the use of any racial slur — in any context,” Colts chief operating officer Pete Ward wrote in an email. “Bob has had a long and storied history in our community, but he made a serious mistake. The Colts are deeply disappointed the incident took place and offer our sincerest regrets to all who were impacted by Bob’s lapse in judgment.”
Ward went on to say that the Colts only decided to comment after Lamey made his account.
Previously, there had been praise for Lamey as his retirement was announced on the weekend.
“Bob Lamey is a legend and icon,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said in Sunday’s release. “(His) name is synonymous with Indianapolis Colts football.”
For 23 years, Lamey served as the sports director for WIBC radio, and in 2008, Lamey was inducted into the Indiana Sports Broadcasters and Writers Hall of Fame in 2008.
Taylor, who has done sideline and studio work for the team, had taken over as the Colts’ play-by-play voice on the preseason broadcasts. Greg Rakestraw, another local radio announcer, will replace Taylor in the television booth.