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Al Roker defends the meteorologist who was fired for a racist slur

The meteorologist fired over the use of a racial slur on air just got a big defender -- high-profile weather...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 10:25 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 10:25 PM

The meteorologist fired over the use of a racial slur on air just got a big defender -- high-profile weatherman Al Roker.

Roker, a longtime personality on NBC's "Today" show, defended former WHEC-TV meteorologist Jeremy Kappell after he was fired for saying "Martin Luther Coon Park" when referring to a park named after Martin Luther King Jr. in Rochester, New York.

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In a video viewed by CNN, Kappell says "King" immediately after using the slur and continues with the broadcast.

"I think @JeremyKappell made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize on @news10nbc Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I've done) understands," Roker tweeted Wednesday.

Viewers of Kappell's Friday night broadcast from were split on whether they think he intentionally or accidentally used the slur.

Kappell has repeatedly said it was an accident -- the result of speaking too quickly and jumbling sounds in a name.

On Wednesday, Kappell publicly thanked Roker for coming to his defense.

"Al, thank you very much," Kappell tweeted. "Your support means so much to this family."

This isn't the first time Roker has made comments about fellow members of the media under fire for perceived racism.

Last year, then-NBC talk show host Megyn Kelly defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes. She later apologized, but Roker said "she owes a bigger apology to folks of color across the country."

In defending Kappell, Roker said slips of the tongue are easy mistakes to make in live news.

Critics of Kappell said the slur is probably in his regular vocabulary for it to have come out so naturally.

"wowww that video. he definitely says that all the time, which is why it slipped out on air," said Twitter user @notmuchelse.

But Kappell's supporters noted how easy it is to jumble the long "o" sound in "Luther" with the "k" sound in "King," or the sounds in "King" and "Junior" when speaking quickly.

"Say 'King' and 'Junior' 5 times fast and tell me what happens," responded another Twitter user, @JaredG_13_.

More than 33,000 people have signed a petition supporting Kappell, saying he was fired unfairly without being given a chance to explain or apologize.

"We want Jeremy Kappell back on the air," the petition reads.

In response to a critic who said the on-air remark was "racist and willful," Kappell responded:

"You are out of your mind to think I would jeopardize future of my family and career to insert a racial slur against the GREATEST civil rights leader of all time?!?! #Ridiculous #Hateful #Judgemental and #youdontknowthefirsthingaboutme!"

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 292811

Reported Deaths: 6613
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19515228
Hinds18611385
Harrison16431275
Rankin12543261
Jackson12419216
Lee9641160
Madison9378194
Jones7857145
Forrest7094136
Lauderdale6760225
Lowndes5998137
Lamar581180
Lafayette5698113
Washington5135128
Bolivar4580120
Oktibbeha438691
Panola424992
Warren4101113
Pearl River4083128
Pontotoc406668
Marshall398392
Monroe3977126
Union392173
Neshoba3758166
Lincoln3447100
Hancock338673
Leflore3349118
Sunflower316685
Tate299874
Pike298293
Scott291867
Alcorn289660
Itawamba288571
Yazoo283262
Tippah275465
Copiah273957
Coahoma272666
Simpson270778
Prentiss267658
Leake251370
Wayne250540
Marion249878
Covington247178
Grenada244676
Adams232877
George229845
Newton223151
Winston220274
Tishomingo211465
Jasper211244
Attala205969
Chickasaw200550
Holmes181470
Clay177848
Stone171129
Tallahatchie169239
Clarke168271
Calhoun155527
Smith151531
Yalobusha142236
Greene126533
Walthall123340
Noxubee122629
Perry120934
Montgomery120537
Lawrence119021
Carroll117223
Amite110732
Webster109229
Jefferson Davis99931
Tunica98023
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91326
Kemper89422
Quitman76614
Franklin75419
Choctaw69416
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 490220

Reported Deaths: 9744
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson704661342
Mobile35810721
Madison32203443
Tuscaloosa23961409
Montgomery22417489
Shelby21773211
Baldwin19635272
Lee14883147
Morgan13571248
Etowah13118312
Calhoun13090283
Marshall11212203
Houston10036257
Limestone9321133
Elmore9313179
Cullman8864177
St. Clair8771220
Lauderdale8570210
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7450162
Walker6492249
Jackson6466102
Autauga617285
Blount6072125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5229100
Dale4614106
Russell401431
Franklin397675
Covington3948105
Chilton383196
Escambia376670
Tallapoosa3559139
Clarke342749
Dallas3396140
Chambers3393103
Pike292771
Lawrence281284
Marion280793
Winston245665
Bibb243759
Marengo238554
Geneva238468
Pickens223554
Barbour209550
Hale208464
Fayette199356
Butler195165
Henry182341
Cherokee176338
Monroe165638
Randolph162740
Washington156233
Crenshaw143353
Clay143254
Macon140543
Cleburne136539
Lamar131632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120825
Bullock116534
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98231
Coosa86823
Greene86732
Choctaw54723
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