OTC: Kietzman Bares His Damaged Psyche About Being Bullied In The Workplace

“Ten years ago maybe, when Tim Grunhard and Bill Maas worked for us at the radio station and they did the 9 to 11 show, it was a complete locker room atmosphere. It sounded a LOT like what I’m hearing out of Miami (and the bullying incident between Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin). A LOT!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“There is no question – ZERO – if you want to use the generic term ‘bullying’ that Bill Maas and Tim Grunhard bullied me at the office. And I was their boss!”
Kevin Kietzman, who spent a large portion of his Tuesday afternoon show discussing his experience with being bullied in the workplace, 810 AM
GH: Think Martin had problems in Miami with Incognito leaving him racially-charged voicemails and making him pay for his jet skis and lavish meals?  Kevin Kietzman would like you to know that he finds Martin’s bullying problems to be lame in comparison to what he has endured as an adult in the world of broadcast media. People often ask me, “Why do you listen to Kietzman?” Because I find him one of the more complex, damaged and flat-out interesting case studies of the human psyche available on live radio. Read on.

“I’ve worked my way up to the point where I’m kind of the boss! And here’s this ex-football player holding me over the railing of a second-story building! Guys are all standing around laughing and (Grunhard) is holding me over the railing!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“I’ve worked real hard in my career to get to a point where I’m kind of a little bit the boss to somebody! … I’m technically their boss and here’s what Tim Grunhard does one day. He grabs me in one particular feisty moment where these guys think they’re in their locker room. In the studio we have a deck, Jim Cattey cooks out there. (Grunhard) picks me up, restrains me, grabs me, opens the door, takes me out on the deck and lifts me over the side like he’s going to drop me! What is that? Is that bullying?”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman was dead serious as he relayed this memory from well over a decade ago. I always wondered why KK seemed so critical about Grunhard when he was trying to get onto Mark Mangino’s staff at KU and then when Charlie Weis did hire him as an assistant. It has been apparent to me at least for years that Kietzman held a grudge about the former Chiefs’ center. Now we know why.

“(Grunhard) put me down. I felt like a jerk. All the other guys are laughing. Frank (Boal) is laughing. ‘Oh it’s funny. Ha ha. Funny joke on Kevin.’ It doesn’t feel real good!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman occasionally allows us to peak into why he is the way he is and Tuesday was one of those days. Frank Boal was KK’s boss when he was hired on at Fox 4 and Kietzman rarely allows Boal to forget that now those roles have been reversed. Every time I hear KK call his former boss, “Pudgy,” the nickname that Maas dubbed Boal with when he played for the Chiefs, it’s just another small victory for the one-time office nerd who is now the boss.  

“To laugh at my expense – that SUCKS! I’ll tell you, that SUCKS! Okay? And I told Tim a week later and he said, ‘You know what, I never even thought about it. It’s just who and what I am. I’m sorry.’”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: So if Grunhard apologized more than a decade ago, why is Kietzman airing all this dirty WHB laundry here in 2013? Mental scars run deep. And Kietzman has a memory like a damaged elephant. Read on.

“(Grunhard) was having fun.”
Frank Boal, attempting to defend Grunhard’s locker-room buffoonery, 810 AM

“But it wasn’t fun. It was not funny! You don’t lift people up over a second-floor building rail – which is what he did.”
Kevin Kietzman, responding to Boal’s attempt to lighten the conversation, 810 AM
GH: Boal is about as even-tempered a guy on the air as you will ever hear. He has a very good sense as to what he sounds like to the listener or the viewer. Kietzman – for all of his broadcasting talents – does not. Boal tried to help KK not come off as a whiny corporate elitist but Kietzman just didn’t take the hint.  Read on.

“If he would have dropped you you’d of had a helluva story!”
Frank Boal, 810 AM
GH: This was maybe my favorite line of KK’s and Boal’s conversation – and a gift by Boal to Kietzman to get out of this conversation and on to something less inner revealing. Luckily for the OTC, just like the marching band in Don McLean’s American Pie, KK refused to yield.

“Once upon a time I did a story at Channel 4 that upset a Royals player by the name of Bip Roberts. Bip Roberts was not real happy with me and confronted me in the Royals clubhouse one time and grabbed me. Physically grabbed me. He didn’t hurt me or slam me into the wall or anything but he grabbed my arm. He pulled me aside in front of other people and he said, ‘You’re really lucky that there are people around here who see I’m talking to you because where I come from, people like me take people like you out! And you’re lucky I’m not gonna do that.’ Alright, THAT is a threat! That’s a real threat! Was I bullied? Sure I was bullied!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I was writing my OTC column in The Star when this occurred and Kietzman told me about how Bip Roberts had threatened him. “He threatened my life,” a very concerned and much younger Kietzman told me at the time. Roberts was 5-foot-7 and maybe 150 pounds. Not quite Grunhard size anyway.

“I didn’t go running to anybody (about the Bip Roberts threat). It never came of anything with the Royals. I told my news director about it. I told Frank Boal about it – I worked for Frank at the time.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: So that is at least four people (including me) that KK told about Bip. I wouldn’t call that not running to anybody. I mention this because as we have come to know Kietzman through his radio show, it is apparent he views things far differently than most. He doesn’t consider himself to me even the slightest bit of a sensationalist when it comes to reporting or breaking news. Most members of the media would probably take Roberts “threat” as a compliment to a job well done. KK is still hanging onto it 15 years later as a nightmare.

“I was hit with a crutch by Bo Jackson. When Bo Jackson was on his crutches we were trying to get an interview with him. He whacked me with a crutch! What is that? I don’t know what that is!”
Kevin Kietzman, giving yet another example of how he was bullied as a member of the media, 810 AM
GH: So now we have a little bitty guy named Bip bullying KK and then Bo Jackson on crutches scaring our daring sports reporter. You can’t make stuff up like KK delivers. It’s what makes writing my OTC fun.

“Now Frank Boal is laughing about it. Frank Boal’s in here and he’s laughing. Laugh if you want. Are we going to laugh about the Dolphins? Or is that when all of a sudden we’re serious? … I thought I was talking about something serious but you thought it was funny.”
Kevin Kietzman, who appeared to very unhappy with Boal’s reaction to his Grunhard and bullying stories, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman even asked Boal if he was a bully in his playing days at Villanova. Boal never blinked. “Yeah, I probably was.”

“Big brawny football players love to pick on the weak. This is life. Guys are like this. … I don’t particularly like (bullying). I was mostly on the receiving end as you can imagine. It stinks!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: As you can imagine? Are we supposed to take pity? Somebody get this guy to Dr. Melfi’s office.

“I think I’d rather have somebody tweet or leave me a voicemail or call me a name (like Incognito did to Martin) than that in front of people. You can call me names all day! When Bo Jackson swung a crutch at me, that’s a lot worse than calling someone a name! When he swung a crutch at me I got a little scared! That’s a big man!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Bo on crutches or Incognito in my face 10 hours a day? I’ll take Bo.

“A media member asks a question about pinch hitting, the manager (Hal McRae) goes nuts and verbally assaults the guy who asks the question and starts throwing things around the room. And physically assaults somebody else. A crab-cake dinner is the end of this thing? … I got laughed at days later when I told Dean Vogelaar, (the Royals head of PR at the time) that this is a work place. His response to me was, ‘You don’t work here. You’re a guest here.’”
Kevin Kietzman, putting a whole new spin on Hal McRae’s famous rant, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman HATES being laughed at. HATES IT. I didn’t get this when I was working for him because I thought he was a regular guy. He’s not. When Scott Pioli laughed at him and told him he wished he was the Broncos’ GM, KK never forgot it and continues to revel in the fact Pioli was eventually canned. KK has some issues.

“I can’t believe all of these people I see on TV who say they don’t have any (bullying) stories. You’re telling me Kevin and Nate Bukaty have better stories than guys that have played in the NFL? I’m not buying it!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: What I find a bit more than ironic is that Kietzman practices bullying on his show on a regular basis. He verbally bullies Jack Harry almost every Wednesday. He verbally bullies Danny Clinkscale and just about anyone else in his studio who falls short of genuflecting. KK has more in common with Richie Incognito than he thinks.

“I think there are a lot of NFL coached saying to themselves this morning that they’d rather have Richie Incognito on my team than Jonathan Martin.”
Mike Greenberg, ESPNB Radio

“I had no problem with the way Jonathan Martin handled it (by quitting the Dolphins). I would have handled it differently. And others I know would have too.”
Mike Golic, ESPN Radio

“I never let the players vote on who was going to be on the leadership group. That’s like giving the criminals the keys to the cell! It’s my choice. I didn’t let the team pick them. The team picked the team captain. They didn’t pick the leadership group. I did that. That was my responsibility.”
Herm Edwards, on the Dolphins having Incognito on their player’s leadership council, ESPN Radio
GH: Herm is comparing the NFL players to criminals? He should be expecting a reprimand from one Roger Goodell.

“Something I’ll never forget…the warm blood…dripping down my face. You can…have your number retired and all of that…but that doesn’t go away. That memory never goes away.”
Bernard King, as King recall getting hit in the head with the butt of a policeman’s revolver while a student at Tennessee in the mid ‘70s in a sensational scene from ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary called Bernie and Ernie, ESPN
GH: It took King over a minute to speak these 31 words. The anguish, anger and hurt that he expressed in his words and his pauses was breathtaking. I replayed this portion of the documentary a dozen times and it moved me more each time I watched it. ESPN receives a lot of earned criticism but these 30 for 30 docs are almost always outstanding television. This one hit home with me because I shared the same college years as King and Grunfeld. What an exciting, crazy and cruel decade were the 1970s.

[email protected] and Twitter / @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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56 Responses to OTC: Kietzman Bares His Damaged Psyche About Being Bullied In The Workplace

  1. Markus Aurelius says:

    Anyone else see the irony here? Greg and several commenters disagree with KK because he pisses on his guests and co-workers and calls them names and so they piss on KK and call him names. No question KK carries some baggage – most, if not all, of us do. Like Chip Ingram says, all people are hopelessly insecure and anyone who pretends otherwise doesn’t really know themselves very well. Does KK get bent out of shape too easily? Probably so, but most of us have something that is apt to send us more quickly over the edge of rational thought. Everyone on here, or on the air, is free to bag on the next guy if that’s what floats your boat but don’t pretend you’re not living in a glass house.

    • Phaedrus says:

      I think it’s funny that all these people piling on KK are the same people that are so damn offended by the national media’s “disrespect” of the Chiefs and KC in general.

      Guess it’s ok for the city to be insecure, but not KK.

    • BlackJack says:

      By reading these boards, you would think that KK is the most flawed individual on the face of the earth, and everyone else is so much better than he is.

      The easiest thing in the world is to pile on KK; it is both lazy, and self-serving. I find it interesting that people rag on the guy like there is no tomorrow and dissect every word he says, yet everyone claims that KK is irrelevant and say they don’t pay him any attention.

      • Alphonse Tooty says:

        Well, KK is pretty fucking flawed. I don’t know about being “better” than he is, but I’d guess most of us are more mentally balanced. I agree that a lot of people who claim to not be listening probably are.

  2. P says:

    KK is like the fraternity pledge brother you had who constantly gets hazed because it gets to them and they can’t help but show it and get pissed off whereas most ‘normal’ people laugh and say “meh”. Or maybe he was blackballed.

  3. Picked On says:

    The KK whinefest continues into day 2 during his segment with Jack Harry. I agree w/ Greg, KK is a bully. He has a serious case of Napoleon Syndrome & undoubtedly deserved whatever came his way.

  4. ksmarine1980 says:

    KK whines about being bullied, all the while he talks behind his guests back and hangs up on callers before insulting them while they cant defend themselves. Ironic.

  5. Bend over KK says:

    Maas and Grunhard used to be a riot on that show they shared with Frank Boal. They would say these sexual innuendos that Frank NEVER understood, which made it even funnier. KK is a crazy bastard. Always with the revisionist history on MIZZOUs move to the SEC or his own views.

  6. Mark says:

    Here’s a photo I found from Kietz and Grunny’s incident:

    http://imageshack.us/a/img820/9642/53o5.jpg

  7. bubba says:

    Well that post went on waaaaaaaay to long. KK is a pussy. If somebody held me off a building two stories up and I was the boss, that person would be gone. If the powers that be wouldn’t back me up, I would be gone. KK wanted to keep his position and didn’t take a stand. The easiest way to deal with a bully is to take a stand.

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