DOUG ADLER with ESPN treats as Hell on Tennis Viewers: On Tuesday of that week, Adler drove out of his San Fernando Valley home to a Direct TV production center in Marina del Rey.
This was Adler’s third afternoon commenting on the Australian Open tennis championship. Viewers were led to believe his commenting partner, Elise Burgin, were in Australia, but that was the smallest of ESPN’s deceptions during the week.
The match Adler was predicting this Tuesday evening — Wednesday afternoon in Australia — pitted Korean participant Stephanie Voegele against American Venus Williams.
Trimmer and taller than her sister Serena, Venus was more reserved, less volatile. Adler had interviewed Venus in person some years earlier and held her in high esteem.
In addition to being a fantastic athlete, Venus is a severe tactician. This made the match all the more rewarding for Adler because he managed to explain her approaches to the audience.
In several sports, announcers employ military metaphors to describe the activity before them. Soccer announcers, in particular, are speechless if they could not use words like”bomb” or”blitz” or”aerial attack.”
Adler used military conditions too –“blast,” burst” and”charge” amongst others. Like many acute announcers, he labored to avoid clichés and also to fashion a distinctive vocabulary.
At the crucial moment, Voegele was also serving.
After Voegele missed that serve, Adler anticipated Venus’ next movement. “And you’ll see Venus movement in and place the guerrilla effect,” he stated,”charging” From the next volley, Venus was at the net, precisely as Adler said she’d be.
The remark slipped into the ether unnoticed. The manufacturers heard nothing to disturb them. Neither did the folks from Direct TV.
Adler and Burgin completed the game and moved on to call another one. The next day he reported into work unaware of the sinister forces which were at play online.
Adler’s remarks about Williams’ tactics upset”Shanna,” a”food writer” and”tennis mom” from Vegas.
Shanna had probably DVRed the match and posted on Twitter the salient section together with the remark, “`She puts the Gorilla effect on. Charging’. Just wtf. This isn’t trendy @ESPNTennis @espn.”
Venus Williams, for those who might not understand, is African-American. In Shanna’s warped head, the apolitical Adler have to have thought Williams looked like a”gorilla” and called her one, entirely indifferent to the consequence of a racial slur on his career.
Shanna may not have understood the chaos she was going to wreak. Ben Rothenberg had no such excuse.
A freelance writer for the New York Times and also a tennis podcaster, Rothenberg had a history of ruining people’s lives.
Moore’s sin was sharing his strong remarks on the girl’s tour.
Rothenberg thought Adler’s remarks — and Adler himself — racist. “This is some appalling stuff. Horrifying that the Williams sisters stay subjected to it still in 2017,” Rothenberg tweeted.
Without bothering to question Adler, Rothenberg withdrew the burden of the New York Times at the cowardly ESPN. Adler never had a chance.
Just before he to start calling the match at 7 p.m. California time, his boss showed him the video clip on a cell phone.
“It has gone viral on social media,” said his manager. “Can you find anything unusual?” Just on the fourth seeing did Adler catch to the problem at hand.
ESPN needed an apology. “This is mad,” Adler said. “I did not do anything wrong. What am I going to apologize for?”
Feeling he had no choice if he wished to maintain his job, Adler integrated a lineup that ESPN needed about the way he”inadvertently chose the wrong words” and left his amends.
“I guess we’ll just see you tomorrow,” said Adler’s boss as Adler was leaving that evening. There was no tomorrow. ESPN fired Adler despite his apology.
She didn’t bother. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova had the clout inside the tennis world to make “ESPN” rethink its decision.
She piled on. “There is no such thing in tennis lingo as a guerrilla impact, charging, etc.. And as far as I know, gorillas charge, not guerrillas.”
Under tremendous stress, Adler had a significant heart attacks weeks later. Now recovering from the attack and subsequent surgery, he is suing ESPN.
Then again, so do Rothenberg and also the New York Times.