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Analyst Morris Suspended for On-Air Ohtani Comments

Brock Fritz

Detroit Tigers analyst Jack Morris has been suspended indefinitely for using an accent when talking about a Shohei Ohtani at-bat on Bally Sports Detroit.

The 27-year-old Ohtani, who is Japanese, was coming up to the plate in the top of the sixth inning Tuesday night when Tigers play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard asked Morris, “Now what do you do with Shohei Ohtani?” Morris responded to Shepard’s question by using an accent and saying, “By very, very careful.”

On Wednesday, Bally Sports Detroit issued a statement announcing that Morris has been suspended and is undergoing bias training.

“Bally Sports Detroit is extremely disappointed with the remarks analyst Jack Morris made during last night’s Tigers game,” reads the statement, which The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen posted on Twitter. “Jack has been suspended indefinitely from Tigers broadcasts and will be undergoing bias training to educate him on the impact of his comments and how he can be a positive influence in a diverse community. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination and deeply apologize for his insensitive remark.”

Stavenhagen’s tweet also included a statement from the Tigers, who said “The Detroit Tigers take immense pride in honoring the diverse cultures that make up our players, coaching staff, front office, fan base and community. We are deeply disappointed by the comments made by Jack Morris during the broadcast last night. We fully support Bally Sports Detroit’s decision and their on-going commitment to ensure that all personnel are held to the highest standards of personal conduct.”

Related: Announcer Apologizes for Accent Prior to Ohtani At-Bat

Morris, a Hall of Fame pitcher who played for the Tigers from 1977-1994, apologized for his marks before the ninth inning Tuesday night.

"Well folks, Shohei Ohtani is coming to the plate and it's been brought to my attention, and I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially anybody in the Asian community for what I said about pitching and being careful to Shohei Ohtani," Morris said, according to ESPN. "I did not intend for any offensive thing and I apologize if I did. I certainly respect and have the utmost respect for this guy and don't blame a pitcher for walking him."

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith apologized in July after saying on “First Take” that “When you talk about an audience, gravitating to the tube, or to the ballpark to actually watch you, I don't think it helps that the No. 1 face ... needs an interpreter to understand what the hell he's saying.”

Related: ESPN’s Smith: Ohtani’s Language Barrier Hurts MLB

Related: D-Backs Announcer Takes Break After ‘Racist Undertones’

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