This is rich!
When you fire a man for using the word guerrilla to describe a truly ugly Venus Williams, you’re admitting that blacks look like gorillas.
Normally, in athletic disputes I wouldn’t care about the outcome, but in this case ESPN, which fired Doug Adler for using the g-word, deserves to have its deep pockets picked clean.
Retired tennis player turned broadcaster Doug Adler is suing ESPN for wrongful termination after he was fired over a remark he made about Venus Williams during the Australian Open.
The former player claimed he suffered ’emotional distress’ in a court filing in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging he was wrongly branded a racist and has lost other TV opportunities because of the controversy.
His lawsuit calls for punitive financial damages, but doesn’t name an amount.
The 59-year-old was commentating for the network during Williams’ second round match against Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele at the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 18 when he described the American’s aggressive tactics.
‘She misses a first serve and Venus is all over her,’ Adler said. ‘You see Venus move in and put the guerrilla effect on. Charging.’
He has maintained he meant Williams was using ‘guerrilla’ tactics, however he was accused by some of comparing the seven-time Grand Slam champion to a gorilla.
Adler apologized for his poor word choice but was let go just days later.
His lawyer, David M. Ring, gave the sports network a serve in a statement on Tuesday.
The irony is that Adler called everything correctly and in a professional manner, whereas ESPN did not – they recklessly made the wrong call,’ Ring said.
‘It was not only political correctness gone overboard, but also a cowardly move that ruined a good man’s career.’
The statement also included a comment from Adler, who said: ‘It was shocking to be treated this way by folks who’ve known me forever… Anyone who has ever competed in sports knows exactly the meaning of the term I used. Period.’
ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said Tuesday the network hadn’t seen the lawsuit and had no comment.
Court papers also point out that ‘Guerrilla Tennis’ was the name of a Nike TV ad from the 1990s featuring Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.
‘Obviously, (Adler) saw that commercial many times and the phrase became widely used by those who actually understood tennis vernacular and followed the sport closely,’ the lawsuit claimed.
“Your honor, I sumbit the following photos in evidence. Will your honor please rule: Is Venus Williams a gorilla?”