On Tuesday evening, during a broadcast of the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers game, Tigers’ analyst Jack Morris used a mocking Asian accent in reference to the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, a Japanese-born player. Morris’ attempt to apologize was insensitive and ignorant, referencing only the words he chose but not the stereotypical, racist accent he used.
The Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force is disappointed and disturbed by Morris’ attempt to provide analysis on a live broadcast in this manner, especially at a time when Asians in the United States are experiencing a sharp increase in anti-Asian hate, which is resulting in harassment and attacks.
In his analysis, would Morris have used an accent for an African American player? A Hispanic or Latin player? An Irish or Italian player? Morris, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, should be held to a higher standard while serving a regional and national audience.
We emphasize the importance of listening, empathy and cultural awareness. The AAJA Sports Task Force stands ready to serve as a resource for media outlets on how to cover Asian and Asian American athletes and welcome and encourage any requests for additional feedback or input on this subject. AAJA calls on national and local media outlets to prioritize coverage of this ongoing violence and hate against AAPIs, and to empower their journalists to report on these incidents immediately, accurately and comprehensively.