Former tennis pro Doug Adler and commentator for ESPN has been suspended from the coverage of the Australian Open for comparing Venus Williams‘ performance to a “Gorilla”.
Venus was awaiting a serve from her opponent – Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland – in her second round game on Wednesday when the remark was made.
Adler was describing the pressure Williams was putting on Voegele when he said: “She misses a first serve and Venus is all over her. You see Venus move in and put the gorilla effect on. Charging.”
According to Chicago Tribune, Adler said he was describing her aggressive style as “guerrilla” tactics and not comparing her with a “gorilla,” adding that he “simply and inadvertently chose the wrong word to describe her play.”
In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, 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 apologized and we have removed him from his remaining assignments,” the statement read.
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