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Tennis commentator files wrongful termination suit against ESPN

In today's age, "going viral" is often a goal some people in Los Angeles who are seeking Internet fame only dream of. However, not all statements that "go viral" do so for positive reasons. In fact, it takes only one misinterpretation of a person's remarks to have an otherwise upstanding person's reputation tarnished through no fault of their own.

Doug Adler, a tennis commentator on the popular television sports network ESPN, has sued the network for wrongful termination. In January, the network let Adler go without warning after a comment he made regarding tennis superstar Venus Williams. Adler claims the network's treatment of him was bad and unfair. He had been working as a broadcaster for 15 years prior to being fired.

On January 18, while commentating a tennis match in which Williams was playing, he described her play style as that having a "guerrilla effect." However, the way that phrase was pronounced made it seem as if he was saying "gorilla effect." This misinterpretation captured widespread negative social media attention, painting Adler as a racist. This attention, according to Adler's suit, was the reason ESPN let him go.

Adler stated that he wasn't aware of the uproar for more than a day after the incident occurred. When his managers played the video for Adler and his partner and asked if anything in the recording seemed odd, both said "no." When informed that his statement about Williams had "gone viral," he was instructed to apologize. He did so but claims his apology was rewritten by others at ESPN. He read the apology on-air and was not allowed to continue commentating. The following day, he was told he was fired.

According to Adler, the incident has permanently damaged his reputation. Adler's attorney stated that Adler behaved professionally, unlike ESPN. However, as this shows, whether it is an overreach of political correctness or bowing to outside pressures, good, honest workers can be wrongfully terminated. When this happens, they may need to take legal action to rectify the situation.

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