Let no one tell you that rampant political correctness bordering on hysteria can’t have life-threatening consequences. If they do try to tell you that, you can tell them to go talk to Doug Adler.
Adler was a part of ESPN’s coverage of the Australian Open. When, during coverage of the match between Venus Williams and Stefanie Voegele, Adler used the military term “guerilla effect” to describe Williams’ tactics on the court. However, upon hearing Adler say that, many viewers thought Adler had referred to Williams’ tactics as the “gorilla effect,” causing some to believe that Adler had used a racial slur.
Here’s the audio of Adler’s call:
ESPN fired Adler shortly after. Adler, believing he had done nothing wrong, sued ESPN to clear his name from the impression that he was a racist.
Fast-forward to this week, and things took a turn for the serious when Adler suffered a heart attack, which he believes was caused by the stress surrounding the incident of his firing at ESPN.
During an appearance on Clay Travis’ “Outkick the Coverage” radio show, Adler discussed the toll the incident took on him, and Travis mentions the doctor’s attributing the heart attack, in large part, to the stress of “being unfairly labeled a racist and being fired by ESPN.”
Here is the audio:
What effect this incident will have on a man trying to repair his reputation remains unknown. What we do know, and what this incident reminds us of, is that it’s very easy to level the charge of racism and sometimes can prove nearly impossible to disprove.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn