Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Jack Morris has been suspended indefinitely by Bally Sports Detroit for an apparent racist comment he made during Tuesday's game telecast.
During Tuesday's game, Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani, a Japanese-born pitcher and hitter who started this year's All-Star Game, was about to step to the plate in the sixth inning. Play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard asked Morris, who won 254 games in his 18-year major league career and was a four-time All-Star with the Tigers, what the strategy should be against Ohtani.
Morris replied: "Be very, very careful," but in an apparent tone that has long been used to mock English-speaking Asians.
BSD released a statement on Wednesday, expressing its "extremely disappointed with the remarks." The network also said Morris, 66, "will be undergoing bias training to educate him on the impact of his comments and how he can be a positive influence in a diverse community." Bally Sports Detroit said it has "a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination."
Wasn’t sure what Jack Morris just apologized for on air (half heard it until he was halfway thru). Apparently this >> https://t.co/SueEIBCKHG
— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) August 18, 2021
The Tigers also released a statement Wednesday afternoon, supporting BSD's decision to suspend Morris.
"We are deeply disappointed by the comments made by Jack Morris during the broadcast last night," the Tigers said. "We fully support Bally Sports Detroit’s decision and their on-going commitment to ensure that all personnel are held to the highest standards of personal conduct."
In the ninth inning of Tuesday's game, with Ohtani coming up to bat again, Morris issued an on-air apology:
"It's been brought to my attention, and I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially anybody in the Asian community, for what I said about pitching and being careful to Shohei Ohtani. I did not intend for any offensive thing and I apologize if I did. I certainly respect and have the utmost respect for this guy."
In Wednesday's statement, BSD apologized "for (Morris') insensitive remark."
Morris has been working as a TV analyst since 2013 and has been covering the Tigers since 2015. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Modern Era Committee in 2018.
In 1990, Morris' final season playing for the Tigers, he made a sexist comment to a Free Press intern. As Jennifer Frey approached Morris after a game to ask a question in the Tiger Stadium clubhouse, Morris said: "I don’t talk to people when I’m naked, especially women, unless they’re on top of me or I’m on top of them.”
Morris has since apologized for those remarks.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Jack Morris suspended for offensive comment about Ohtani