Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani reportedly takes no offense in Detroit Tigers analyst Jack Morris’ use of a mock Asian accent while talking about him.
The backlash: Jack Morris, 66, a National Baseball Hall of Famer, used the problematic accent while referencing Ohtani during a game between the Angels and Tigers on Tuesday. The incident resulted in his indefinite suspension at Bally Sports Detroit.
- Morris’ remark came during the sixth inning after play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard asked what the Tigers should do as Ohtani was up to bat. “Be very, very careful,” the 66-year-old said with a mock Asian accent.
- Before the ninth inning, Morris issued an on-air apology, saying he did not intend to offend anyone. “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 in part.
- That apology did not appease members of the Asian community. The Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force, for one, described it as “insensitive and ignorant,” because it only referenced “the words he chose, but not the stereotypical, racist accent he used.”
- In a statement, Bally Sports Detroit apologized for Morris’ “insensitive remark” and stressed that they have “zero tolerance” for bias or discrimination. The network is also making Morris undergo a bias training “to educate him on the impact of his comments and how he can be a positive influence in a diverse community,” as per ESPN.
Jack Morris: “Professional” broadcaster pic.twitter.com/qNEM7aObeN
— ProblematicVG (@ProblematicVG) August 18, 2021
Ohtani’s response: Ohtani, 27, confirmed that he heard about Morris’ remark. However, he does not take offense to it.
- “I did see the footage and I heard it. Personally, I’m not offended and I didn’t take anything personally,” the Angels superstar said via an interpreter, according to The Athletic’s Sam Blum.
- Ohtani also acknowledged the former Tigers pitcher’s prestige. “He is a Hall of Famer. He has a big influence in the baseball world. It’s kind of a tough spot,” Ohtani said.
- Morris’ remark and alleged “non-apology,” as well as Ohtani’s dismissal of the supposed problem, continue to draw mixed reactions on social media. Some claim that those offended are being “oversensitive,” while others believe Ohtani was actually “taking the high road.”
- One Twitter user wrote: “The comment Morris made was innocent and there wasn’t nothing [sic] to it. This country is too oversensitive.”
- Meanwhile, another user commented: “There’s a difference between being polite and not being offended. He has good motivation to be seen to take the high road here.”