According to Fox News, Doug Adler told Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis that he was taken to the hospital Tuesday and was still there. Adler said doctors blamed the heart attack on stress stemming from people calling him a racist.
Adler came under fire for a comment on Jan. 18 while he was calling a Venus Williams match at the Australian Open. He described Williams as using the “the guerilla effect” during a play in her match.
“By the way ESPN chose to handle this non-issue, they effectively branded me, my character and my reputation for the rest of my life,” Adler told Fox News last month.
Adler “has lost future opportunities in the sporting and business worlds because no one will hire a ‘racist,’” the lawsuit said. “He has suffered serious emotional distress and harm because he has been falsely accused of being the worst thing imaginable, and something he clearly isn’t and never has been, all over the use of the word ‘guerilla,’ a word that is commonly used in tennis.”
In addition to wrongful termination, Adler is claiming intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and economic hardship. The suit also names ESPN Senior Vice President Mark Gross and Vice President Jamie Reynolds. It seeks unspecified damages.
Adler claims ESPN and its executives knew he used the word “guerilla” and not “gorilla,” but fired him anyway. He had finished work without a word from his managers following the incident and returned the next day.
Adler was told to apologize on air and he complied. But instead of resuming his broadcasting, he was pulled from the show and fired the next day. He was “told he was done working tennis at ESPN,” the complaint said.