Longtime Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley has apologized after making a racially insensitive comment on-air during a preseason match in Germany against Eisbaeren Berlin on Sunday, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Foley was doing play-by-play for the telecast when he mentioned Berlin forward Austin Ortega during the third period, saying, “Ortega, who sounds like he ought to be a shortstop ... .”
The Tribune reports that Ortega, who was born and raised in California, chose not to speak with Foley directly. Instead, Foley spoke with someone in the Eisbaeren organization, who then passed on the apology.
"We are aware of the insensitive remarks made by play-by-play announcer Pat Foley on Sunday’s broadcast," the Hawks said in a statement, according to the Tribune. "Pat has personally spoken to the Eisbaeren organization to express his deep regret. He and the organization sincerely apologize to Austin Ortega and Eisbaeren and will not be commenting any further on the matter."
The 64-year-old Foley called Chicago games from 1980 to 2006 before returning to the booth for Hawks in the 2008-09 season. Foley was selected as the Hockey Hall of Fame Foster Hewitt Memorial Award winner for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster in 2014.
The 25-year-old Ortega, who was born in Escondido, Calif., has also played for the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies and the Swedish Hockey League’s Vaxjo Lakers.