EXCLUSIVE: ESPN – Network Fires Back at Ex-Tennis Announcer’s Lawsuit over Allegedly Racist Venus Williams “Gorilla” Comment
The Dirty can exclusively reveal ESPN is firing back at the legal battle with their former tennis announcer – who was fired from the network following an alleged racist comment about Venus Williams – with the network placing the blame solely on him for his termination.
Earlier this year, ESPN tennis announcer Doug Adler was working at the Australian Open. During a match between Venus Williams and Stefanie Voegele, he said “You see Venus move in and put the guerrilla effect on … charging.”
Social media blew up over the incident with many blasting Adler as a racist and demanding he be fired. He would later apologize but ESPN still fired him a short time later.
Recently, Adler sued ESPN for wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract. He claimed the network knew his statement wasn’t racist … and he meant “guerrilla” not “gorilla”. Adler argued “guerilla” was a common term used in tennis pointing out to a 90’s Nike tennis campaign called “Guerilla Tennis”. The ex-announcer denies all accusations of being racist.
Despite the network being aware of the true meaning, he said they fired him anyway. He sued for unspecified damages … saying his professional career is dead now that he’s been labeled a “racist”.
Then on March 3rd, ESPN fired back at Adler’s lawsuit demanding it be thrown out of court. The network denies all allegations of wrongful termination or breach of contract. They explain the decision to terminate Adler was solely for legitimate business related reasons.
ESPN says if anyone breached the deal it was him … arguing any damage and injury was caused due to him and him alone.