Doug Adler had worked for ESPN since 2008. He's an excellent tennis announcer and he called the match at the Australian Open in which superstar Venus Williams was playing against Swiss Stefanie Voegele.
The Sydney Morning Herald described Adler's commentary between the two women thus:
"She misses a first serve and Venus is all over her," Adler said.
"You see Venus move in and put the gorilla effect on. Charging."And that's what thousand of people heard too. They heard gorilla not guerrilla. The Aussies didn't get the word correctly either, it seems.
But the call of racist seems to roll off the tongue so easily nowadays.
Adler was fired by ESPN two days later after his comment went viral on Twitter and helped along by The New York Times, and now he's suing the sports media outlet.
Adler was a pro tennis player himself and the term he used was well-worn in the 1990s. It's a standard way of describing an aggressive play. He doesn't have any history of making any racial slurs and by all standards is not a racist.
They say a depressed person sees the world through sad eyes, and an anxious person sees the world as a dangerous place.
It stands to reason that racists see the world where everyone else is a racist--certainly not themselves. Maybe they're more in touch with their unconscious minds than we think.
I hope Adler wins his lawsuit and collects millions.