For the past several seasons, first as part of the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast team, then with the Bally Sports Detroit team, Jack Morris has served as a part-time color commentator alongside Matt Shepard, calling games for the television broadcast. Effective Wednesday afternoon, he has been suspended indefinitely from those duties.
During Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, with superstar player Shohei Ohtani coming up to bat first in the next half inning, Morris made a remark about how pitchers should handle him, saying, “very, very careful” in what appeared to be a mock-Japanese accent.
Immediately following the commercial break Morris issues a hasty apology “if he offended anyone” and the broadcast carried on. However, backlash from Morris’s comment soon heated up online, as articles began to emerge centered on Morris’s “joke.” It soon became evident that the network would need to address the comments in some fashion, and their response was in the form of a suspension and mandatory bias training.
Bally Sports and the Detroit Tigers each issued a statement on the incident and subsequent suspension.
It may be easy for some viewers to dismiss Morris’s statement as a joke in poor taste, but the more important factor here is that he made it in the first place, not understanding why it was offensive before he said it.
It remains to be seen whether Morris will return to the broadcast booth.