Steve Harvey Calls Golden State Players ‘Gorillas’ on ESPN

Steve Harvey
AP Photo/ Chris Pizzello

Talk show host and comedian Steve Harvey referred to the Golden State Warriors as “gorilla’s,” on ESPN’s NBA Finals pre-game show.

During an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Harvey was asked if there was anything his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers could do to derail Golden State? Harvey responded by saying that there wasn’t, because they had “800-pound gorilla’s” on their team:


The caption of the video asks Outkick the Coverage’s Clay Travis whether Harvey’s comments constitute a Doug Adler situation. Adler, who is white, was part of ESPN’s coverage of the Australian Open in 2017. During coverage of the match between Venus Williams — who is black — and Stefanie Voegele, Adler used the term “guerilla effect” to describe Williams’ tactics on the court.

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. ESPN subsequently fired Adler despite his obvious reference to tactic, not an animal.

The difference in Harvey’s use of the term is that — unlike Adler — by referencing all the “gorilla’s” on Golden State’s team, Harvey actually did apply an animal reference to black athletes.

While there’s clearly no malice intended in Harvey’s use of the term “gorilla,” there wasn’t any malice intended in Doug Adler’s use of the term “guerrilla” either, and he got fired.

Adler interacted with Clay Travis on Twitter about Harvey’s comments:

Harvey’s comments are part of a pattern of problematic animal references involving race at Disney. In addition to Adler’s termination for his “guerilla tactics” comment, Roseanne Barr had her show canceled after she referred to former Obama Chief of Staff Valerie Jarrett as the product of a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes.

The incident appears to show, yet again, the clear double-standard that ABC, ESPN, and their parent network Disney have when it comes to how it handles different people saying the same, or similar things. Would ESPN or Disney tolerate a white commentator using the term “gorilla” to describe black athletes? Their track-record would suggest not.

Steve Harvey is the host of Family Feud, which is owned by Disney.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn


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