The Kansas City Star is releasing audio this afternoon of a controversial comment made Monday by Chiefs running back Larry Johnson. Readers should listen carefully and turn up the volume since the comment is whispered quickly under Johnson’s breath in a busy locker room.
The controversy began when, approached by media in the Chiefs’ locker room on Monday, Johnson initially said, “I’m not talking till Thursday,” his usual day to speak with reporters.
However, after someone remarked that the running back has often talked on Mondays as well, Johnson turned his head slightly and said, “Get your faggot ass out of here.”
Star reporter Kent Babb, standing immediately to Johnson’s right, heard the comment and checked his tape recorder to verify the offending words. Later Monday, several Star editors confirmed it by reviewing the audio multiple times.
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Since the sound was recorded on a consumer-grade, hand-held digital recorder, the file required enhancement for clarity before it could be published in a mass-medium format. On Tuesday, The Star employed an outside, independent audio expert to improve the technical quality of the recording. The expert slowed down and equalized the audio, amplified the sound and reduced background noise.