Bally Sports Detroit has suspended color analyst Jack Morris from broadcasts indefinitely after he used an Asian accent while Shohei Ohtani was coming to the plate during Tuesday’s game.
The network said in a statement it was “extremely disappointed” with the Hall of Fame pitcher and noted he would begin “bias training” in order for him to understand the repercussions of his words.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination and deeply apologize for his insensitive remark,” Bally Sports added.
The Tigers supported the network’s decision to sideline Morris.
“The Detroit Tigers take immense pride in honoring the diverse cultures that make up our players, coaching staff, front office, fan base and community,” the team said in a statement. “We are deeply disappointed by the comments made by Jack Morris during the broadcast last night. 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.”
During the sixth inning of Tuesday’s Tigers-Angels game, play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard asked what Detroit should do with Ohtani coming to the plate.
Morris, in an Asian accent, said, “Be very, very careful.”
The next time Ohtani came to the plate, Morris gave an on-air apology for his earlier remarks.
“Well folks, Shohei Ohtani is coming to the plate and 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,” Morris said.
“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.”
A 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee who spent 13 years pitching for the Tigers, Morris was an analyst for Tigers games for 2015 and 2016 and was rehired in the same role prior to the 2019 season. Bally Sports has not yet named a replacement.
Ohtani finished the night 1-for-3 with three walks as he continued his march toward AL MVP. He leads all of baseball with 39 homers and a .644 slugging percentage, while maintaining a 2.93 ERA on the hill.
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