ESPN announcer apologizes to Sioux Valley Dakota Nation NHL player, Zach Whitecloud

On May 10, the Daily Hive reported that ESPN announcer John Anderson apologized for his comments, labelled as insensitive and inappropriate, about Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Zach Whitecloud on a recent broadcast.

While covering the latest Vegas-Edmonton highlights on SportsCenter, Anderson commented on Whitecloud’s name, first asking what kind of name Whitecloud was, followed by saying it’s a “great name if you’re a toilet paper.”

Many were upset by the insensitive commentary, especially since Whitecloud is the first Indigenous player to play in the NHL from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.

Anderson quickly came under fire for the inappropriate comments and the SportsCentre anchor released a written statement that included an apology

“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.”

“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 last Tuesday.

Whitecloud revealed that he accepts Anderson’s apology, and hopes the scenario is used as a teaching moment for all to move forward in a positive direction.

He noted that he is proud of who he is and the name he carries.

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