John Anderson

ESPN’s John Anderson has offered an apology and explanation after making a controversial joke about an indigenous player’s last name while calling NHL highlights for SportsCenter on Monday night.

Anderson was providing commentary over the highlights from Monday night’s Las Vegas Golden Knights-Edmonton Oilers game in the second round of the NHL playoffs. Zach Whitecloud scored a goal to give the Golden Knights a 3-1 lead in the second period, prompting Anderson to say, “What kind of name is Whitecloud? Great name if you’re a toilet paper.”

Whitecloud is the first indigenous NHL player from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, which prompted many to criticize Anderson for his remarks.

“This is totally on me and I sincerely apologize to Zach, the Golden Knights, their fans and everyone else for what I said,” Anderson said in a statement. “It’s my job to be prepared and know the backgrounds of the players and I blew it. I will be reaching out to the team to personally apologize and hope to have the opportunity to speak to Zach as well.”

Whitecloud is one of six indigenous players in the league. The Sioux Valley Dakota Nation is a reservation of about 1,080 people located 30 miles west of Brandon, Manitoba.

UPDATE: Whitecloud spoke with the local media and said he talked with Anderson, accepting the apology of the SportsCenter anchor.

And here is video of Whitecloud’s statement and interaction with the local media from the Vegas Golden Knights.

[AA on Twitter]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.