ESPN announcer John Anderson has apologized for his comments about Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Zach Whitecloud on a recent broadcast.
While covering the latest Vegas-Edmonton highlights on SportsCenter, Anderson joked about the player’s name. First asking what kind of name Whitecloud was, and following up by saying it’s a “great name if you’re a toilet paper.”
Many were upset by the insensitive comments, especially since Whitecloud is the first Indigenous player in the NHL from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.
During the Vegas-Edmonton highlight on SportsCenter, John Anderson jokes about Zach Whitecloud's name, saying it's a "great name if you're a toilet paper."
Whitecloud is the first Indigenous NHL player from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. pic.twitter.com/gngA1yg8wk
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 9, 2023
On Tuesday, Anderson came under fire for the inappropriate comments. The SportsCentre anchor later released a written statement in which he apologized. “This is totally on me and I sincerely apologize to Zach, the Golden Knights, their fans and everyone else for what I said,” Anderson wrote. “It’s my job to be prepared and know the backgrounds of the players and I blew it.”
He added, “I will be reaching out to the team to personally apologize and hope to have the opportunity to speak to Zach as well.”
Whitecloud, whose goal gave Vegas a 3-1 lead in the second period, helping them earn a 5-1 win in Game 3 and take the lead against the Oilers in the series, addressed the comments when talking to reporters on Tuesday.
He called Anderson’s comments an “attempt at humour that came out as being, obviously, insensitive.”
🎥 Zach Whitecloud speaks on his pride for his heritage. 🧡 pic.twitter.com/3j5pIQT120
— z – Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 9, 2023
Whitecloud also revealed that he accepts Anderson’s apology.
“People make mistakes, this is a scenario where not just John but everyone can learn from and move forward in a positive direction,” the 26-year-old said. “I’m proud of my culture, I’m proud of where I come from, where I was raised, and who I was raised by.
“I carry my grandfather’s last name and nothing makes me more proud to be able to do that,” he added.