Indianapolis Colts release statement on Bob Lamey’s retirement after announcer admits to using ‘inappropriate word’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Bob Lamey–the longtime voice of the Indianapolis Colts–used an “inappropriate word” in the days before his sudden retirement.

Lamey made the admission in a statement released through his attorney, Jim Voyles.  The statement said Lamey repeated a story while off the air to a friend at a radio station and used an “inappropriate word.”  The statement said Lamey immediately apologized after it happened. Here’s the full statement:

Bob Lamey, the former “Voice of the Colts,” retired from the Indianapolis Colts on August 18 following a career that spanned over four decades. Bob was not fired by the Colts as some in the community have speculated.

Bob has been in the sports broadcasting arena for almost 44 years and is 80 years old.

It should be noted that 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. 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.

Lamey served as the radio voice of the Colts for more than three decades. His retirement announcement came suddenly and without explanation. 

Indystar Colts beat writer, Zak Keefer said Wednesday that Lamey's sudden retirement took everyone at the Colts complex by surprise.

“I had conversations with Bob back in the Spring and he was intent on coming back for a 32nd season,” Keefer said.  “His health wasn’t great, then he started to feel better and he decided to come back.  That decision was made.”

Keefer points out the Colts deliberately made no mention of any racial slur or complaints about Lamey when announcing his retirement on Sunday.

“They spun it as a health decision, and now we know that wasn’t the case at all,” Keefer said.  “This is a messy situation, a mistake was made by Bob Lamey.  They came out and praised him in retirement, when in fact this was not the plan all along.  He had to retire a lot earlier than he wanted to.”

At the same time, Keefer doesn’t disagree with those who praise Lamey’s career and contributions to the Colts organization. 

“It’s a sad way to end things for Bob Lamey,” Keefer said.  “He is absolutely revered in this building, in this city, by the players he has covered for so long.  And especially by Jim Irsay and irsay’s family.” 

The Colts responded with a statement that said they “do not tolerate the use of any racial slur” and said Lamey apologized and “promptly retired as the Colts play-by-play announcer.”

Here’s the team’s statement in full:

In regards to Bob Lamey…first and foremost, the Colts deplore and do 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. 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.