ESPN Drops Reporter Over Venus Williams ‘Gorilla’ Remark
By Ron Dicker
Regardless of whether he said “gorilla” or “guerrilla” to describe Venus Williams, a commentator for ESPN has been sidelined.
On Thursday the sports network removed tennis commentator Doug Adler from its Australian Open coverage after he made a controversial remark to explain Williams’ play, The Associated Press reported.
During Williams’ second-round victory over Stefanie Voegele, Adler noted that Williams attacked more strongly against Voegele’s second serve. The word he used to reinforce his point became the subject of hot debate.
Offended viewers and some media outlets heard it as the racially charged “gorilla effect.” But Adler said he meant the similar-sounding “guerrilla”― as in the battle tactic ― and “simply and inadvertently chose the wrong word to describe her play,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
ESPN told AP in a statement:
“During an Australian Open stream on ESPN3, Doug Adler should have been more careful in his word selection. He apologized and we have removed him from his remaining assignments.”