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.”
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 15, 2017
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.
— Shanna 🍍 (@PinaCocoblog) January 18, 2017
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.
— Tiffany Jackson (@mazeltiff) January 30, 2017
“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.”