Angels' Shohei Ohtani Says He Wasn't Offended by Jack Morris Using Racist Accent

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 19, 2021

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 17: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after striking out in the eight inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on August 17, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani brushed aside the comment made by Detroit Tigers broadcaster Jack Morris in which Morris used a stereotypical Asian accent.

"I did see the footage. I heard it on the video," Ohtani told reporters Wednesday. "Personally I’m not offended. I didn’t take anything personally."

Brad Galli @BradGalli

Shohei Ohtani was asked about Jack Morris:<br><br>"I did see the footage and I heard it on the video. Personally, I'm not offended and I didn't take anything personally," he said. "He is a Hall of Famer. He has a big influence in the baseball world so it's kind of a tough spot." <a href="https://t.co/M5s6WerXk9">pic.twitter.com/M5s6WerXk9</a>

During the broadcast of the Angels' 8-2 win over the Tigers on Tuesday, Morris spoke in a mocking accent and advised the Tigers to "be very, very careful" as Ohtani was due to bat. He later apologized.

Bally Sports Detroit announced Wednesday it was suspending Morris indefinitely and requiring him to undergo bias training:

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

Detroit <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tigers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tigers</a> broadcaster Jack Morris indefinitely suspended <a href="https://t.co/UTOYoOLcos">pic.twitter.com/UTOYoOLcos</a>

The Tigers also said they were "deeply disappointed by the comments made by [Morris]."

Morris began working on Tigers broadcasts in 2003 before going on to call Minnesota Twins games as well. The 66-year-old returned to Detroit in a full-time role ahead of the 2019 season.

His comments came at a time when hostility toward Asians and Asian Americans have been on the rise. The nonprofit group Stop AAPI Hate—which gathers data on racially motivated attacks against Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—said it received 9,081 reports of "hate incidents," including physical attacks, verbal harassment, shunning and discrimination, between March 19, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

The FBI cautioned in March 2020 that hate crimes against Asian Americans were likely to rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The FBI makes this assessment based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations," the Bureau said.