Gorilla or guerrilla? ESPN commentator denies calling Venus Williams an ape

ESPN pundit Doug Adler insists he was describing Venus Williams’ “guerilla” tactics during her second round victory over Stefanie Voegele at the Australian Open, not comparing the 7-time Grand Slam winner to a gorilla.

    2017/01/20

NSFW    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — A TV sports commentator has denied accusations of racism after he appeared to compare tennis star Venus Williams to a gorilla.

ESPN pundit Doug Adler insisted he was describing Williams’ “guerilla” tactics during her second round victory over Stefanie Voegele at the Australian Open on Jan. 18, not comparing the 7-time Grand Slam winner to a great ape.

The 59-year-old commentator apologized and said he “simply and inadvertently” chose the wrong word to describe Williams’ play, the New York Post reported.

However, that didn’t stop an outpouring of outrage on Twitter. New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg said Adler’s comments were horrifying and there was no shortage of others who were offended too.

ESPN said in a statement that it had dropped Adler from his remaining assignments, adding that he should have been more careful with his word selection.
Tennis star Venus Williams, 36, is a 7-time Grand Slam winner. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / FRANCISCO DIEZ
Tennis star Venus Williams, 36, is a 7-time Grand Slam winner. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / FRANCISCO DIEZ
Former tennis pro Doug Adler denied accusations of racism. ATP WORLD TOUR
Former tennis pro Doug Adler denied accusations of racism. ATP WORLD TOUR
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