ESPN anchor John Anderson issued an apology Tuesday after mocking the name of Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud, an indigenous NHL player, while on air Monday night.
Anderson, who has been with the network since 1999, made the remark while discussing highlights from the Golden Knights’ 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of their second-round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“What kind of name is Whitecloud? Great name if you’re a toilet paper,” Anderson said in a video of Whitecloud scoring a goal in the second period.
The remark was met with harsh backlash online, prompting Anderson’s apology.
“This is totally on me, and I sincerely apologize to Zach, the Golden Knights, their fans and everyone else for what I said,” he said in a statement, via Awful Announcing.
“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.”
According to NHL.com, Whitecloud is the first indigenous NHL player from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.
Whitecloud addressed the controversy in a press conference Tuesday, according to SinBin.Vegas, and said he spoke with Anderson and accepted his apology.
“I don’t want to be standing here in front of all of you, but I hope we can use it an opportunity for everyone to learn,” Whitecloud said.