A disgraced sports reporter is suing his former employer after he was forced to resign over a racist on-the-air comment about tennis star Venus Williams at this year’s Australian Open.
According to The Grio and other national media outlets, Doug Adler (pictured left) is suing ESPN for unspecified damages after the sports news agency fired him over a controversial comment about Venus Williams (pictured right) during this year’s Australian Open tennis tournament.
The whole incident unfolded this past January 18th during an ESPN3 live-streaming of a contentious tennis match between Williams and Stefanie Voegele. Adler was calling the match for ESPN when he made a racist comment during the second round likening Williams to a “gorilla.”
Adler apologized for his comment later on during the Australian Open broadcast. However, Adler tried to justify his remarks by saying that he meant “guerrilla” and did not mean to compare Williams to an ape. ESPN took immediate action by suspending Adler for the remainder of the tournament.
An ESPN spokesperson then released a statement giving an explanation for the agency’s decision to temporarily relieve Adler of his sportscasting duties. However, the sports broadcasting giant took further action by removing Adler permanently.
Adler recently went to TMZ bellyaching about getting fired. Here is a portion of the report:
“Adler says Twitter freaked out and misunderstood what he was trying to say — wrongly interpreting the comment as racist. Instead, Adler says the term is NOT racist, but rather a “frequently used” word in tennis to describe an aggressive style of play. In fact, Adler says Nike ran a tennis campaign back in the ’90s called “Guerrilla Tennis.” Adler says ESPN understood what he meant but made him apologize anyway … only to fire him a short time later Adler says he’s screwed professionally because of the way his termination played out in the media — saying, “No one will hire a ‘racist.'” For the record, Adler says he’s “anything but a racist.” (TMZ.com)
Lawyers for Adler have not yet spoken publicly on his behalf about his lawsuit.