A well-known TV personality in the US has apologised for mocking the names of Nigeria’s basketball players, following the African side’s historic win over the US in a friendly at the weekend.
Stephen A Smith had said the US’s “bona fide stars” had “no excuse to lose to Nigeria… some dude named Gabe Nnamdi who goes by Gabe Vincent, Caleb Ogada, uh… Namu- or however the hell you pronounce his name”.
He had also come in for criticism for saying on the same show that Japanese-born baseball star Shohei Ohtani could not be the face of the sport as he used an interpreter.
“I messed up and I hurt people with my words,” Smith said in a video of his opening remarks his morning talk show First Take posted on Twitter.
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“I apologise to the Asian community and the Asian-American community, I apologise Nigerian basketball team too.”
Earlier he had said that he had been misunderstood, now he said that his apology was from the heart and not something he was forced to do by the ESPN network that airs his show.
“I could say that my intentions were good, but as a black man in America I’ve heard a lot of people say hurtful things about the black community and then claim the intentions were good.”
The 53-year-old sports commentator said he hoped his mistake would “push the conversation to educate people out there on these issues and many others”.
“Obviously myself would be included in that,” he said.