Darren "D-Mac" McKee, a Denver sports-radio staple as the longtime host of The Drive on 104.3 The Fan, was not on the air for his regular shift on Monday, August 24, and it's unclear whether he'll be behind the microphone today after he accidentally tweeted the N-word during a Denver Nuggets playoff loss over the weekend.
Raj Sharan, The Fan's program director, declined to say if McKee will return this afternoon or share anything else about potential discipline for the unintentional gaffe, noting via email that the station's owner, Bonneville International, "doesn't discuss personnel externally." McKee, who's always been one of the most accessible personalities in Denver media, did not return multiple messages from Westword.
On August 24, however, McKee offered his thoughts about what happened on Twitter. "Last night while watching the Nuggets I sent out a tweet commenting on the game," he wrote. "I was horrified when it was brought to my attention that instead of Nuggets I had accidentally posted the N word. I instantly took it down. I despise this word. I find it abhorrent. I am stunned and devastated that I made this sickening mistake. I am deeply and profoundly sorry."
Those words should be taken literally. Those of us who have listened to McKee for his decade-plus on The Fan know that he's no racist, and so does Alfred Williams, the ex-CU Buff and former Denver Broncos standout who was his partner for most of that stint — and who happens to be Black.
Last year, Williams left The Fan in favor of a gig at rival outlet KOA, but yesterday he responded to McKee's tweets with a note of support: "I have no doubt my Homeboy @dmac1043 made a typo last night. I have worked, traveled and had too many conversation with him over the years. He’s a good man with a big generous and loving heart. He nor anyone in his circle uses language like that! He’a a credit to Denver radio!"
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Also tweeting on McKee's behalf was another competitor, Altitude's Vic Lombardi, who opined, "Just a nightmarish, unfortunate, unintentional mistake. We know that. Not who you are. Hope the people who know you best will have your back. I sure do."
Others outside the media expressed more doubts. One Twitter correspondent wrote, "iPhone doesn’t auto correct to nigger bro... only if you’ve actually typed it for your phone to memorize it.... That word isn’t programmed in the phone.... It’s pretty obvious but it’s okay, nobody calling him racist, but his phone recognized, which is why it auto corrected."
The blunder would have been problematic under any circumstances, but it's even worse in the context of the NBA playoffs. After all, the phrase "Black Lives Matter" is emblazoned on the Florida court where all the games are taking place, and the majority of players are wearing jerseys on which their names appear below statements such as "Equality" and "Say Her Name."
Still, D-Mac should be allowed to make amends for the error rather than being bounced for it. But if and when he'll get the chance to do so is unclear.