Home US Commentator Apologizes After Racist On-Air Joke About Japanese Baseball Player
US - August 18, 2021

Commentator Apologizes After Racist On-Air Joke About Japanese Baseball Player

Detroit Tigers analyst Jack Morris apologized on Tuesday after he appeared to use a mock Asian accent while speaking about Los Angeles Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani during a game against the Detroit Tigers.

Fellow commentator Matt Shepard asked Morris, a former MLB player himself, what the team’s strategy should be against Ohtani during the sixth inning.

“Be very, very careful,” Morris replied, using an accent. 

During the ninth inning, Morris apologized as Ohtani stepped up to bat again. 

“It’s been brought to my attention, and I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially anybody in the Asian community, for what I said about pitching and being careful to Shohei Ohtani,” he said. “I did not intend for any offensive thing, and I apologize if I did. I certainly respect and have the utmost respect for this guy.”

The Tigers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Angels did not have a statement on the matter.

Morris, 66, has been working as a sports broadcaster since 2013. The five-time All-Star was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018. 

In Morris’s final season playing for the Tigers in 1990, he made a sexist comment to a Detroit Free Press intern, the newspaper reported Tuesday

When Jennifer Frey approached Morris after a game in the Tiger Stadium Clubhouse to ask a question, Morris said: “I don’t talk to people when I’m naked, especially women, unless they’re on top of me or I’m on top of them.” He has reportedly since apologized.

Viewers were unimpressed with both his comment and his apology on Tuesday.

“It’s a non-apology apology. Sorry if I offended, blah de blah,” tweeted baseball writer Keith Law.

ESPN writer Joon Lee said “the fact that this type of lazy racism keeps popping up around Shohei Ohtani speaks to so much of the media being apathetic and lacking any empathy towards the AAPI experience.”

He said it was impossible for Morris to “play something like this off as ‘sorry if you were offended’ when there’s not any purpose in doing this accent other than to make a caricature of AAPI people.”

Several commenters called for Morris to be given time off or removed from the broadcast panel.

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