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Announcer Suspended for Shohei Ohtani Comment

Jack Morris mocked player's accent
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2021 12:02 AM CDT
Jack Morris Suspended for Shohei Ohtani Comment
Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Jack Morris gives former Twins manager Tom Kelly the ball for the first pitch as the members of the 1991 Minnesota Twins World Series champions were honored before the baseball game between the Twins and Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, in Minneapolis.   (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

(Newser) – Once again, someone is in hot water over racism directed at Major League Baseball's biggest star. Baseball analyst and former MLB pitcher Jack Morris has been suspended after what he said regarding Shohei Ohtani, NBC News reports. As the 27-year-old Los Angeles Angel came up to bat Tuesday night in the Angels' game against the Detroit Tigers, Morris, a Tigers TV analyst, was asked by a fellow announcer, "Now what do you do with Shohei Ohtani?" Morris mimicked a Japanese accent when he replied, "Be very, very careful."

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  • The apology: A few innings later, Morris said, "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. 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 and don't blame a pitcher for walking him."
  • The suspension: Bally Sports Detroit, which broadcasts the Tigers games, announced Wednesday that the 66-year-old had been suspended indefinitely. He will also "be undergoing bias training to educate him on the impact of his comments and how he can be a positive influence in a diverse community," the statement says. "We have a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination and deeply apologize for his insensitive remark."
  • The Tigers' take: The team said it was "deeply disappointed" in Morris' remark, ESPN reports, and that it "fully support[s] Bally Sports Detroit’s decision and their on-going commitment to ensure that all personnel are held to the highest standards of personal conduct."
  • Ohtani's take: "I did see the footage and I heard it on the video," he said when asked about the incident Wednesday. "Personally, I'm not offended, I didn't take anything personally. I have no say to what the Tigers wanted to do or what they did with him. He's a Hall of Famer. He has a big influence in the baseball world, so it's kind of a tough spot."
(Last time, it was ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.)

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