LOS ANGELES (AP) — A tennis commentator dropped by ESPN for a remark about Venus Williams during the Australian Open has sued the sports network for wrongful termination.
Former tennis pro Doug Adler maintains he was describing Williams’ aggressive style last month as “guerrilla” tactics and not comparing her with a “gorilla.”
He apologized for his poor word choice but was let go from ESPN mid-tournament.
Adler filed suit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, saying he has wrongly been branded a racist and lost work because of the controversy. The suit calls for punitive financial damages, but doesn’t name an amount.
ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys says the network has not seen the lawsuit and has no comment.
Offended viewers called for Adler to be fired because they believed he had compared Williams, who is African-American, with a gorilla.