Analyst sues ESPN for wrongful termination over Venus Williams comment
Former ESPN analyst Doug Alder is suing the network for wrongful termination over comments he made about Venus Williams during the Australian Open.
Adler claims he described Williams as having a “guerrilla” style of play rather than a “gorilla” style of play, the latter of which was interpreted as a racist remark and led to his dismissal following a Jan. 18 match.
The Los Angeles Superior Court complaint argues that tennis experts use the term “guerrilla tennis” to describe aggressive play, and that ESPN “bowed to the Twitter universe of haters and those ignorant of tennis who thought (Adler) used the word ‘gorilla’ to describe Venus Williams that day.”
Adler’s complaint filed offers no mention of him having a contract, citing an “employment relationship” with the network, suggesting he may not have been a contractual employee — a condition that would strengthen his case.
The lawsuit claims intentional infliction of emotional stress and economic damages. It also mentions a Nike commercial titled “Guerrilla Tennis” that featured Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.