Fired For Racially Charged Comments About Venus Williams, Tennis Announcer Is Suing ESPN

Since 2008, Doug Adler was a commentator on ESPN for everything tennis. On January 18, that all changed during a match where Venus Williams went head to head with Stefanie Voegele at the Australian Open. Adler was engaged in a play-by-play, and allegedly tried to describe Williams’ aggressive play after Voegele missed serves, but ended up saying, “You’ll see Venus move in, and put the gorilla/guerrilla effect on. Charging.”

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Obviously this comment could be understood in a derogatory way, which Adler acknowledged and went on to apologize during the broadcast, as well as the following day in a statement he claims ESPN wrote for him.

That match would end up being his last with ESPN, as the network fired Adler in the following days amid social media backlash. The ex-pro tennis player announced he filed a lawsuit against ESPN for wrongful termination. Adler claims “emotional distress” in the suit, alleging he is wrongly being termed a racist, and lost out on other lucrative opportunities because of the negativity surrounding him.

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“The irony is that Adler called everything correctly and in a professional manner, whereas ESPN did not, they recklessly made the wrong call,” said Adler’s attorney. “It was not only political correctness gone overboard, but also a cowardly move that ruined a good man’s career.”