Tennis fans have voiced outrage on social media after a pundit for ESPN said Venus Williams “put the gorilla effect” on while commentating on her second-round match yesterday.
Williams, who was playing Stefanie Voegele, was stepping into the baseline ahead of her Voegele’s second serve when ESPN’s Doug Adler made the controversial comment.
“She misses a first serve and Venus is all over her,” he said.
“You see Venus move in (and) put the gorilla effect on. Charging.”
— Shanna ? (@PinaCocoblog) January 18, 2017
Fans of the game were not happy, with many calling for 59-year old Adler to be fired.
New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg tweeted, calling Adler’s commentary “horrifying.”
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 19, 2017
Other fans were also not too pleased about Adler’s comments.
Tomorrow is Obama's last day as POTUS and Venus Williams was just called a gorilla by an ESPN commentator. I am ****ing done.
— Katelin (@cummingsgoings) January 19, 2017
— Anthony (@anthpezz) January 19, 2017
Although others interpreted the commentary in another way.
A tennis commentator just said "guerilla" in reference to Venus Williams' play. Media will turn that into a racist "gorilla" statement watch
— Tyler Keemer (@T_Keem) January 19, 2017
It’s not the first time someone has made offensive comments about the Williams sisters.
In 2014 the president of the Russian Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpishchev called Serena and Venus Williams the “Williams brothers”.
Adler and ESPN have yet to comment on the furore.