Tennis commentator Doug Adler was fired by ESPN in the middle of the Australian Open last month after he referred to Venus Williams’ aggressive style in attacking second serves as the “gorilla effect.”
That remark led to outrage as many felt it was a racist remark against the African-American tennis star. Adler is now suing ESPN for wrongful termination as he attempts to explain that he was saying “guerrilla” not “gorilla,” and the two words sound almost identical when spoken.
In his lawsuit, Adler alleges that he was referring to an old Nike commercial about “guerrilla tennis” that featured Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. He claims that became part of the tennis vernacular and he was simply referring to her aggressive style with that phrase.