NAHJ Responds to ESPN Announcer’s Disparaging Remark

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists denounces ESPN announcer Mitch Holthus’ offensive comment during Saturday’s Kansas State Vs. Florida basketball game.

After a play in-which Kansas State guard, Angel Rodriguez picked up a third foul, Holthus said: “That’s sometimes where the Puerto Rican temper kicks in there. They need him on the floor instead of picking up a third foul”. Rodriguez is a Puerto Rican native.

I was made aware of the incident by one of ESPN’s managers who oversees the network’s men’s college basketball telecasts. As many of you know, I am an ESPN employee.

One executive vice president told me that both Holthus and a producer accepted accountability for their actions and that they will be disciplined. Holthus apologized to Rodriguez, coach Bruce Webster and the public saying in part “I do apologize. I meant no racial slur at all…I have the utmost respect for Angel as a student athlete. I am very, very sorry in using a poor choice of words in making a point in last night’s K-State/Florida telecast”.

Regardless of his questionable intent, Holthus insensitive remark feeds an offensive stereotype against Latinos. NAHJ continues to work with media organizations in improving their sensibility in using such ethnic generalizations in their coverage.

In the last 24 hours I have spoken to several ESPN managers about how to prevent future incidents. All appreciate and welcome NAHJ’s input and assistance.NAHJ recognizes Holthus quick apology and recognition of his mistake as well as ESPN’s timely response.

Hugo Balta
President, NAHJ

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