WISH-TV fires Derek Daly in latest fallout over Bob Lamey’s racial slur

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The controversy over Indianapolis Colts radio broadcaster Bob Lamey’s use of a racial slur has brought down another prominent broadcaster, WISH-TV Channel 8 auto racing analyst Derek Daly.

DalyDerek Daly

WISH-TV reported late Wednesday night that it has fired Daly, a freelancer there for 30 years. According to the station, the offending story that Lamey told to a friend earlier this month was a retelling of a story Daly told Lamey nearly 35 years ago that included the slur.

“Daly confirms he shared the story with Lamey during a live radio interview in the 1980s,” according to a story posted by the station. “WISH-TV is severing all ties with Derek Daly effective immediately.”

Daly did not immediately return a call from IBJ seeking comment.

Daly, a 65-year-old native of Ireland, competed nearly two decades as a race car driver before becoming an analyst. He competed in the Indianapolis 500 every year but one from 1983 through 1989.

The Colts on Sunday announced the surprise retirement of Lamey, the “Voice of the Colts” for more than three decades. Two days later, WTHR-TV Channel 13 reported that Lamey, 80, had been accused of using a racial slur while telling a story to a friend in the presence of a black radio station employee.

Through an attorney, Lamey acknowledged Wednesday that he had used “an inappropriate word” and that he had immediately apologized to those who heard him use the word. Lamey was not fired by the Colts, the attorney said.

Lamey “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,” according to the statement from attorney James Voyles.

The unnamed Emmis employee said that Lamey told the story after a radio interview at the team’s training camp, according to WTHR. The story was about his time working at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"He had asked me if the mics were off, and I said, 'Yeah, I turned everything off. You're fine,'" the employee told WTHR. "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 quals? Do you think anyone's holding back?' And that person had replied, 'There aren't any 'blank' in this race’."

By “blank,” the employee indicated that Lamey used the n-word. Lamey then apologized.

“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.

The employee notified Emmis’ human resources department about the incident, WTHR reported. Lamey was an employee of the Colts, but Emmis stations carry Colts games and related content for broadcast.

The Colts released a statement on Wednesday saying the team deplores and does not tolerate the use of any racial slur, in any context.

“While it is the Colts’ strict and long-standing policy to not make public comment on personnel matters, Bob publicly acknowledged that last week he repeated an inappropriate word when telling a story,” the statement read. “He immediately apologized to the people who heard him use the word, and then promptly retired as the Colts play-by-play announcer.

“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 judgement.”

It was not clear whether the team had asked Lamey to resign or if the broadcaster did so of his own accord. Asked for clarification by IBJ, Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward reiterated that company policy prohibited him from discussing personnel issues.

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