MLB superstar Shohei Ohtani said he is not bothered over a media controversy in which an announcer was accused of making a “racist” remark about him during a game telecast.
Jack Morris, a TV analyst and former pitching great for the Detroit Tigers, has been indefinitely suspended by broadcaster Bally Sports following a comment he made during the Tigers’ game against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.
Ohtani, a Japanese-born designated hitter and pitcher who is having a remarkable season, was at the plate when the Hall of Famer described the threat the Angels slugger posed.
According to ESPN, with the game tied at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning, Bally Sports Detroit play-by-play man Matt Shepard asked, “Now what do you do with Shohei Ohtani?”
Morris, in what apparently was supposed to be a Japanese accent, commented: “Be very, very careful.”
— ProblematicVG (@ProblematicVG) August 18, 2021
Ohtani was intentionally walked.
In the ninth inning, Morris said, “I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially anybody in the Asian community. … 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.”
Jack Morris apologies before Shohei Otani’s at-bat in the ninth inning. pic.twitter.com/WdCjfyfSvX
— Spencer Wheelock (@SpencerWheelock) August 18, 2021
But the damage was done. He has been suspended by Bally Sports Detroit and condemned by the club for which he played most of his games en route to 254 pitching victories from 1977 to 1994.
Bally said in a statement it was “extremely disappointed” and Morris, 66, would need to be educated “on the impact of his comments and how he can be a positive influence in a diverse community.”
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination and deeply apologize for his insensitive remark,” the company said, according to ESPN.
The Tigers also threw him under the team bus.
“We fully support Bally Sports Detroit’s decision and their on-going commitment to ensure that all personnel are held to the highest standards of personal conduct,” the team said in a statement.
One person who wasn’t offended: Ohtani.
The Angels star said, via an interpreter, that he didn’t necessarily see what all the fuss was about.
“I did see the footage and I heard it. Personally, I’m not offended and I didn’t take anything personally,” he said, according to The Athletic’s Sam Blum. “He is a Hall of Famer. He has a big influence in the baseball world. It’s kind of a tough spot.”
Shohei Ohtani on the Jack Morris comments: “I did see the footage and I heard it. Personally, I’m not offended and I didn’t take anything personally. … He is a Hall of Famer. He has a big influence in the baseball world. It’s kind of a tough spot.”
— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) August 19, 2021
Despite the fact that Ohtani wasn’t upset, don’t expect to see Morris ever sit in a broadcast booth again. America’s cancel culture seems likely to make sure of that.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.