A commentator for the broadcaster ESPN has been stood down after using the word “gorilla” to describe Venus Williams’s style of play during a match at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
The commentator, former pro player Doug Adler, was calling the game between Williams and Stefanie Vogel when he described the African-American’s aggressive style of play as having a “guerrilla effect”. Guerrilla, of course, relates to the style of warfare; however, many took Adler’s comments to mean an actual “gorilla”, a term deeply offensive to African people.
In a statement, ESPN said it had pulled Adler from the broadcasts. “During an Australian Open stream on ESPN3, Doug Adler should have been more careful in his word selection. He apologised and we have removed him from his remaining assignments.”
Adler has since apologised for his comments and said he had not meant to offend and had “simply and inadvertently chose the wrong word to describe her play.”