Commentator Dropped By ESPN Following Venus Williams “Gorilla” Controversy

January 20, 2017  |  

He could have meant guerrilla instead of gorilla, but ESPN commentator Doug Adler’s poor choice of words are getting him sent home.

While speaking on a play made by Venus Williams during an Australian Open match against Stefanie Voegele, Adler described Williams’s aggressive technique as “gorilla” — or “guerrilla”?

Hair flying, balls flying #australianopen

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“Venus is all over her,” he said. “You see Venus move in and put the gorilla effect on. Charging.”

Twitter users immediately noticed and called out the comments. There were even calls by offended parties for Adler to be fired.

Adler asserts that he meant “guerrilla,” even though ESPN stated that it’s impossible to truly know what he meant considering both “guerrilla” and “gorilla” are pronounced exactly the same. He acknowledged on Thursday evening that he should have chosen a better description for the tennis legend’s performance and strategy, and he “simply and inadvertently chose the wrong word to describe her play.”

Adler has since been removed from calling matches for the current Australian Open tournament, losing his opportunity before the third round. Guess he will have some time to sit with a thesaurus and find a more suitable and less controversial word.

“During an Australian Open stream on ESPN3, Doug Adler should have been more careful in his word selection,” ESPN’s statement said. “He apologized and we have removed him from his remaining assignments.”

Williams has focused on getting prepared for her next match, which was today. She outpaced Ying-Ying Duan of China in 58 minutes.

During a post-match press conference, Williams was asked about the comments. She said she doesn’t focus on such negativity because there are more than enough positive things happening in her life and career.

“It’s been a wonderful, wonderful career for me, full of positives,” she said. “That’s what I focus on. I mean, what else can I do? It’s a beautiful life. That’s how I feel about every single thing. It’s just that simple, honestly.”

She continued, “I pay attention and address situations that are noteworthy. That’s been my past record clearly.”

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