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Kiam Apologizes for Joke About Olson Told at Dinner

February 07, 1991|From Times News Services

FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriot owner Victor Kiam apologized Wednesday for a joke he told at a banquet about Lisa Olson and the Persian Gulf War.

According to Bob Kennedy, sports editor of the Stamford Advocate, Kiam told the dinner guests, "Do you know what Lisa Olson has in common with the Iraqis? They've both seen Patriot missiles up close."

Kiam made the comment at the Stamford (Conn.) Old-Timers Athletic Assn. awards banquet. Olson was the sportswriter who was sexually harassed in the locker room last season by several Patriot players.

Monday night's remark came nearly 10 weeks after an NFL report said Kiam had made statements "which reflected substantial insensitivity to the issues of equal access for women reporters" to locker rooms.

The NFL said Kiam called Olson to apologize personally. It didn't rule out disciplinary action.

In a statement issued by the Patriots, Kiam, who lives in Stamford, did not give details about the joke, but said, "I used bad judgment in repeating one particular joke. The comments were insensitive and inappropriate. I apologize to those who were offended."

Olson, a Boston Herald reporter, had said that on Sept. 17, she was sexually harassed in the locker room by several players. After an investigation by special counsel Philip Heymann, the NFL fined three players and the team.

Ellen Convisser, president of the National Organization for Women in Massachusetts, told United Press International the joke was "consistent with what we've seen of him, even though he tried very hard to deny what his real opinions were. We are at war, and the fact that we're at war is no more a laughing matter than the harassment Lisa Olson experienced in the locker room. And obviously, Victor Kiam doesn't get it. It is sexist and inhumane."

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