Last month at the Australian Open, Doug Adler who was calling matches on ESPN3 and DirecTV was fired by the Worldwide Leader. It over a comment during the Venus Williams-Stefanie Voegele match which he claims was misinterpreted.
Adler said the comment he used was “guerrilla” as in a soldier or military tactics. There was outrage on Twitter saying Adler said “gorilla” instead of “guerrilla” The comment was “You see Venus move in and put the guerrilla effect on … charging.”
TMZ is reporting that Adler is suing ESPN over the incident and that now he can’t find work because “no one will hire a ‘racist.'” And he points out that he’s “anything but a racist.”
He explained to TMZ that the term “guerrilla” is often used in tennis:
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.
We’ll see where this goes. Obviously Adler feels remorseful about the whole incident, but also some anger over how things transpired afterwards. Still, these days one has to be careful in the choice of words and Adler learned that lesson all too late. Now he’s out of work and hoping a lawsuit will restore his reputation. It’s a long shot, but one that Adler hopes will work.