Bob Chase is an 85-year-old veteran of World War II, and has called Fort Wayne Komets games for 59 years. In other words, the man has earned a little leeway.
On Saturday night, he was calling the Komets' game at the Rapid City Rush in the CHL. According to the Journal Gazette, Chase watched a Fort Wayne player get stick-checked by a Rush defender that was trailing the play.
His on-air reaction on WOWO radio:
"A little Jap attack from behind that time."
This is the kind of comment that'll get you in trouble no matter what the calendar reads, but is especially glaring when it occurs the week of the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
After a reader complaint to the Journal Gazette, Chase apologized. Sort of:
"I don't want to be inconsiderate to anybody," Chase said. "This was part of our vocabulary for a lot of years. And if you haven't lived (through WWII), it's hard to understand."
Chase said, however, people can be overly sensitive. "I feel sad about (this) kind of a thing," he said. "A little, teeny-weeny nitpicking moment. People don't understand or are so sensitive that they lurk on every word so they can pounce, and that's a spiteful person."
For what it's worth, Koichiro Otani of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne wasn't offended by the reference … mainly because it was within the context of a stick-check and not a sneak attack:
"A play like this happens all the time in the course of a game, right? If someone brings a knife and he injures another person, that would be worse. ... Some people won't like (him using 'Jap') but I don't personally think it's that offensive, no."
Well that settles it. Guess Pearl Harbor is just on the mind of some folks this time of year ... like Rob Tychkowski of Sun Media last night:
The Canadian spelling of Pearl Harbor, FTW.