Ex-Commentator Fired For Venus Williams’ Remark Sues ESPN

Doug Adler, former ESPN sports commentator, fired for a remark about Venus Williams during the Australian Open, sued the sports network for wrongful termination. Adler maintains he was describing Williams’ aggressive playing style as “guerrilla” tactics and not comparing her with a “gorilla.”

Adler apologized for his poor word choice after viewers complained about his remarks. At the time Adler said he was speaking about Williams’ tactics and strategy and “simply and inadvertently chose the wrong word to describe her play.”

Adler claims “emotional distress” in the filing in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging he was wrongly branded a racist and has lost other TV opportunities because of the controversy. Adler is seeking punitive financial damages in the lawsuit, but doesn’t name an amount.

In a statement emailed in January to The Associated Press, ESPN said it had pulled Adler from broadcasts.

“During an Australian Open stream on ESPN3, Doug Adler should have been more careful in his word selection. He apologized and we have removed him from his remaining assignments,” the statement read.


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Robin is a digital content creator and has worked in the digital space for nearly ten years. “Robinrazzi” is a nickname given from a former colleague and is a perfect integration of her name and one of her greatest hobbies of having a camera in hand to capture once in a lifetime moments like paparazzi. She has traveled the world covering entertainment, celebrities, events and anything trending. She holds a BA in communications from Penn State and MS in marketing from Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves as Digital Content Manager for WHUR and the Howard University Radio Network.

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