I’ll bet a fair amount of cash that most of you NBA fans out there in the interweb have idea which NBA players is pictured above. That’s back-up Memphis Grizzlies center and first Iranian in the NBA, Hamed Haddidi.
Recently, Haddidi’s Grizzlies faced off against the Los Angeles Clippers where a mispronunication about Haddidi’s home of Iran made by Los Angeles Clippers TV announcers Ralph Lawler and Mike Smith got them suspended from yesterday’s Clippers/Nuggets game.
We get more from the LA Times:
Veteran play-by-play man Ralph Lawler and analyst Mike Smith (above, left and right) were suspended for tonight’s Clippers telecast on Fox Sports Prime Ticket for comments made during Wednesday’s telecast, according to sources with knowledge of the decision but not authorized to speak publicly.
Wednesday’s comments came near the end of a dreary Clippers loss, 106-91, in Memphis as rookie Haddadi, a 7-foot-2 center and the first Iranian player in the NBA, came into the game.
In a 40-second exchange Lawler and Smith began talking about Haddadi. A Clippers fan who watched Wednesday’s telecast complained about the verbal exchange and said he received an apology today from Fox Sports.
Here is the exchange:
Smith: “Look who’s in.”
Lawler: “Hamed Haddadi. Where’s he from?”
Smith: “He’s the first Iranian to play in the NBA.” (Smith pronounced Iranian as “Eye-ranian,” a pronunciation that offended the viewer who complained.)
Lawler: “There aren’t any Iranian players in the NBA,” repeating Smith’s mispronunciation.
Smith: “He’s the only one.”
Lawler: “He’s from Iran?”
Smith: “I guess so.”
Lawler: “That Iran?”
Lawler: “The real Iran?”
Lawler: “Wow. Haddadi – that’s H-A-D-D-A-D-I.”
Smith: “You’re sure it’s not Borat’s older brother?”
Smith: “If they ever make a movie about Haddadi, I’m going to get Sacha Baron Cohen to play the part.”
Lawler: “Here’s Haddadi. Nice little back-door pass. I guess those Iranians can pass the ball.”
Smith: “Especially the post players.
Lawler: “I don’t know about their guards.”
I’m usually the first person to defend other races and racism but why should someone be forced to apologize for a mispronuciation of a word. Really, he pronouced it “EYE-Rian”, wow. That is something to not get bent out of shape out.
I could understand someone complaning regarding the Borat comment but a mispronuciation of Iranian is pushing the envelope a bit. How many of us probably would have made the same mistake? Maybe, the anonymous person who called this in should be more concerned with other things.