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ESPN’s John Anderson apologized for a comment about Vegas Golden Knights player Zach Whitecloud.
Anderson was breaking down the Vegas Golden Knights crushing the Edmonton Oilers 5-1 Monday night when he chose to make a very unfortunate joke about Whitecloud, who is the first indigenous NHL player of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.
“Zach Whitecloud? What kind of name is Whitecloud? Great name if you’re a brand of toilet paper. His first goal of the playoffs as well,” Anderson said Monday night while breaking down highlights of the game.
John Anderson apologized.
Following his comment, Anderson released a statement Tuesday apologizing for his choice of words about Whitecloud.
“This is totally on me and I sincerely apologize to Zach, the Golden Knights, their fans and everyone else for what I said. It’s my job to be prepared and know the backgrounds of the players and I blew it,” Anderson explained.
Why not specifically stating he didn’t know Whitecloud was Native American, he certainly seemed to imply it with his comment about not knowing backgrounds.
Anderson did the right thing by walking back his comment.
While there’s no way to know for sure what Anderson knew or didn’t know about Whitecloud, it seems highly-unlikely he knew he was of indigenous descent and made that comment. You’d have to be a grade-A idiot to do so.
His explanation of not knowing backgrounds seems believable, but that doesn’t make it excusable. As he noted himself, it’s his job to know backgrounds.
John Anderson is on ESPN. It’s very literally his job to know who he’s talking about on any given day. Having said that, it definitely appeared to be a joke. A really bad joke at the expense of someone’s name, but a joke nonetheless.
That definitely doesn’t excuse his actions, but intent matters. There’s nothing to suggest John Anderson hates minorities and was openly intending to mock them.
Ultimately, the main person he needs to speak with is Zach Whitecloud. Releasing an apology was the mature and professional thing to do. Now, the next step is to be a man and get on the phone with the Knights player. It sounds like he intends to, and it’s exactly what he should do.