The former ESPN commentator who was fired after reportedly comparing tennis pro Venus Williams to a gorilla during the Australian Open has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit Tuesday against the famed sports network, reports The Washington Post.
From The Washington Post:
The ESPN tennis commentator [Doug Adler] who was fired last month after being accused of using racist language to describe Venus Williams’s playing style at the Australian Open has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the network.
…Adler’s controversial comment came on Jan. 18 during Williams’s 6-3, 6-2 victory over Stefanie Voegele when he said what many heard as, “You see Venus move in and put the gorilla effect on, charging.” Many on Twitter, including New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg, reacted quickly, calling for the termination of the 58-year-old former pro, whom ESPN hired in 2008. Adler ended up apologizing on air the next day, and clarifying that he said “guerrilla effect,” referring to a style of play made famous in the 1990s.
The Times’s tennis correspondent echoed that statement, noting the special consideration commentators should give to Williams and her younger sister Serena, who have been subject to racism before. “Whether it was intended or not, people should know not to compare black people to African animals,” Rothenberg said to RTSport. “Sadly, there’s a history of it happening with the Williamses in particular, and I’d hope that everyone would be aware of those very basic sensitivities by 2017.”
Williams declined comment on the controversial incident, reports The Associated Press via Yahoo Sports.