One mistake shouldn’t define someone.
It is true that being human can lead to a number of liabilities in our life: saying things to be regretted; doing things that one wishes could be taken back. Unlike what the movies tell us, we can’t go back and fix it. All one can do is repair what was done and try to move on and be better.
Last week, FOX 2 broadcaster, Kevin Steincross, had a slip-up on the air. With Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the horizon, Kevin mispronounced one of the words in the famous civil rights leader’s name, with the insertion of a racial slur being the result. A pure mistake, one that has led to escalating circumstances in the days following the on-air error.
The St. Louis County NAACP wants KTVI (Channel 2) to fire Steincross to appease their hurt feelings about something that he didn’t even mean or say with intent. In our racially-charged times, it’s getting harder and harder for some people to stop and differentiate between a mistake and something halfway normal.
This was the first on-air mistake made by Steincross. He has a perfect record. You won’t find an arrest record or issues on his resume or history. There’s nothing there. He’s a good person. How I do know that? Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know Kevin and talk to him on several occasions, spending afternoons at the movies. We are film critics here in St. Louis, and I always enjoy my time with him.
You won’t find a judgmental bone in Kevin’s body, and will have to find Jeremy Renner’s tracker from Wind River to find a mean trace in his DNA. It simply doesn’t exist. Racism doesn’t live there either, which is why I am confused at the outcry this week.
Let’s review a few things:
First, Steincross didn’t even finish his show before apologizing on the air for his mistake. He owned it right away, and after a meeting with KTVI, the issue appeared to be squashed and moved on from.
Second, he’s never been known to say these any of these type of things before. This isn’t a pattern, so please stick your bloodhound noses elsewhere.
Third, while there have been broadcasters who have made the same mistake Steincross did and got fired for it, there have been plenty of other cases where the mistake was made and a job was kept. If one did some digging into those circumstances where the person lost his or her job, there’s probably more to the story lying under a little dirt.
Fourth, KTVI came out in support of Steincross immediately, so there’s the first stance. Up to this point, the news station hasn’t deviated from that support system. Doing so now will puncture their credibility and put the rest of their on-air personalities on watch. You don’t want to send that message.
Firing Steincross would be a mistake. A bad one that would cause to condemn Channel 2 and go on a further tirade against them. Steincross is a good person. All you have to do is look in his past and see what he’s done.
He started at Fox2 as a general news reporter in 1996 before taking over the co-anchor job two years later. Prior to KTVI, Steincross had worked in Columbia, Missouri, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Baylor University, and a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in New York. He’s a well-educated man who, via his bio page on KTVI, fell into the industry while serving as a contestant with Gladys Knight on The Pyramid.
He calls St. Louis home, and has interviewed Jennifer Lopez, Denzel Washington, and recently, Lady Gaga, at the Critics Choice Awards. He was born in Alabama, but grew up in Missouri. St. Louis is his home, and where wants to be.
Do you need to know more? Just head over and read his full bio. It’s all there. No hiding or skeletons in his closet.
This is giant overreaction. If the NAACP was calling for a suspension or something along those lines, one could see a reasonable argument there. While I don’t think he should be suspended or fined or whatever, that is reasonable than taking away a man’s job for a simple mistake. A mistake many have made.
In all of this, many are forgetting the values of the man Steincross was addressing. What would Martin Luther King Jr. say about this situation? The powerful leader who preached forgiveness over vengeance, love over hate, and the integrity of one’s soul over the anger located inside a person. I’d like to wager he would forgive Steincross immediately. King Jr. heard it from many people with true intent in their words before his untimely death in 1968. He would know the difference.
Let’s preach King Jr.’s ideals and values, and back off this pledge to see some brand of rogue justice be served. What’s the learning curve here? What will Steincross learn? Everybody makes mistakes. The key is to recognize the human frailty and forgive. That’s all part of being human.
Does the fact that I know him make some of this bias? You bet it does, but this isn’t a political stance or an employer writing an extended defense. I am Kevin’s friend who doesn’t like what he sees happening. I’ve had several friends make real mistakes that they paid for in the past, and I didn’t hesitate to stand on the other side. Here, there is only one side to be on. The one that supports Kevin Steincross.
Here’s a scenario before I leave you. What if you made a minor mistake at your job? Something others have done before, and you swore wasn’t intentional. Things happen, right? How would you feel if the employer wanted to fire you for that small mishap? Imagine putting in over 20 years at that place and hearing this possible reaction. It’d be mind-boggling.
I wrote this tonight to support my friend, Kevin Steincross. He’s seeing unjust treatment, and I don’t like it at all. Take your movement or need to protest somewhere else. Find a better game to play in a different area of the yard. Find a better case. This isn’t it.
I urge you to share this, or write your own defense of Kevin. He’s a good man who deserves solid support.
If we aren’t making mistakes, we aren’t human.
Show some compassion this January.
Thanks for reading,