An ESPN commentator has been dropped from coverage of the 2017 Australian Open for his remarks on Venus Williams’ playing style in her second-round match.

ESPN Drops Commentator Doug Adler Over Venus Williams ‘Gorilla/Guerrilla’ Comment

Former tennis pro Doug Adler apologized Thursday for describing the 36-year-old American’s aggressive play as “guerrilla” tactics, which many understood as him calling Williams a “gorilla.”

Given that the two words are pronounced almost identically, this naturally led to some confusion.

Adler stated he “simply and inadvertently chose the wrong word to describe her play.”

ESPN released the following statement regarding the incident to the Associated Press:

“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.

Williams defeated Swiss Stefanie Vogele 6-3, 62. Adler was specifically referring to an instance where Vogele faulted on a serve, and Williams moved in and charged the net. Twitter immediately began blowing up with comments from users who felt the “gorilla” comment was offensive since Williams is African-American.


Williams also defeated China’s Duan Yingying 6-1, 6-0 on Friday, and will next face German Mona Barthel in the third round on Saturday night.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 20: Venus Williams of the United States plays a forehand in her third round match against Ying-Ying Duan of China on day five of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

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