There were many ways to analyze Masahiro Tanaka’s performance during Game 2 the ALDS, but TBS announcer Ron Darling ended up taking an unfortunate route given the New York Yankees pitcher’s Asian descent.
“A little chink in the armor for Tanaka here. It’s the first inning where he’s lost a little of his control,” Darling said. He did not appear to realize what he had said could be seen as offensive and later said the choice was unintentional.
The unfortunate phrase came near the end of the fourth inning, when Tanaka fell behind 3-0 against Eduardo Nunez. Darling was noting that Tanaka, who is Japanese, appeared to have lost some control.
“Earlier tonight I used an expression while referencing Masahiro Tanaka’s recent pitching performance. While unintentional, I apologize for my choice of words,” Darling said in a statement released to Yahoo Sports.
It is very much worth noting the Darling himself is partially of Chinese descent, having been born to a Hawaiian-Chinese mother.
Several Twitter users immediately noted Darling’s comment, with some expressing outrage and others believing it to be an unfortunate slip of the tongue. Multiple users compared it to a deleted ESPN headline in which the same phrase was used to describe Jeremy Lin.
That headline sparked widespread outrage as it appeared to use a slur to mock the struggles of one of the NBA’s few Asian players. It eventually led to the ESPN writer’s dismissal, as well as a suspension for an ESPN anchor who used the phrase on television.
Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick also landed in hot water when he appeared to use the same slur, later apologizing for what he called a slip of the tongue.
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