Friday, August 25, 2017

ESPN ‘killed me’ for racial misunderstanding






The former tennis player and veteran commentator faced a surge of backlash for describing Venus Williams’ strategy at the net as the “guerrilla effect,” which many listeners heard as “gorilla” and a slight at Williams’ race.  
 NOTE:
Guerrilla and gorilla are pronounced EXACTLY the same — which makes it easy to remember how to say guerrilla — but they have different meanings. In Spanish, guerra means "war," and guerrilla means “little army.” Guerrilla fighters tend to work in small groups and use ambush and sabotage to surprise stronger, more traditional forces. You’ve might have heard of Che Guevara, a famous guerrilla fighter who was involved in the Cuban Revolution.
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Doug Adler is taking his fight against ESPN to the courts and now through the media.

Adler opened up on the “Today” show in an interview with Matt Lauer that aired Friday about the dangerous levels of stress and humiliation he experienced as a result of ESPN pulling the plug on him for remarks that some considered racist. The former tennis player and veteran commentator faced a surge of backlash for describing Venus Williams’ strategy at the net as the “guerrilla effect,” which many listeners heard as “gorilla” and a slight at Williams’ race.
Adler apologized for the comment, while continuing to insist he was innocent, but ESPN let him go anyway and Adler responded by filing a lawsuit against the network in February for wrongful termination.
“They didn’t have good cause and I didn’t do anything wrong,” Adler said during the sit-down interview. “They killed me, they made me unemployable. They ended my career, they killed my reputation, my good name. What else was I supposed to do?”
Adler, whom ESPN hired in 2008, told Lauer he’d never considered the word “guerrilla” being interpreted in a racial context and that hearing his name and “racism” in the same sentence makes him “absolutely sick.”
No matter Adler’s pleas, ESPN still views his comment as careless and his actions in the aftermath as unfitting of employment.
“Adler made an inappropriate reference to Venus Williams for which he felt no apology was necessary,” the Worldwide Leader said in a statement to the “Today” show. “We disagree and stand 100 percent behind our decision to remove him from the 2017 Australian Open.”
 Adler said he believes ESPN would not have treated its higher-profile employees with the same abruptness.

“It would not have happened to John McEnroe, it would not have happened to Martina Navratilova,” he said. “They would’ve put the time, the energy and the resources into defending those people because they did nothing wrong.”

Adler claims the public dispute led to him spending 20 hours a day with “no food, no sleep, obsessed and passionate to get my name back and my reputation.” He suffered a heart attack two weeks after submitting the lawsuit.

Adler has handed over his future and emotional well-being to the court.

“I hope so, I’m trying to live without it now,” Adler said of his anger. “I agree there is a great degree of anger there, and I’m not happy about the anger. And until I think that I’m proven fairly, that I didn’t do anything wrong, I think it’s gonna sit with me.”
Filed under doug adler ,  espn ,  sports broadcasting ,  tennis ,  venus williams
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Guerrilla and gorilla are pronounced the same — which makes it easy to remember how to say guerrilla — but they have different meanings. In Spanish, guerra means "war," and guerrilla means “little army.” Guerrilla fighters tend to work in small groups and use ambush and sabotage to surprise stronger, more traditional forces. You’ve might have heard of Che Guevara, a famous guerrilla fighter who was involved in the Cuban Revolution.

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