It can be a bit hard to understand why SportsCenter was once the crown jewel of ESPN programming unless you remember the days when you couldn’t simply access scores and highlights with a few clicks on your phone or computer.
Giving fans the ability to monitor trending stories and breaking news by flipping on their television was what made SportsCenter the force it was in its heyday.
However, the many iconic personalities that have spent time behind the desk in Bristol were also a major reason people would literally leave the show on in the background for hours on end and happily rewatch episodes they’d already viewed earlier in the day (or night) before the internet rose to prominence.
Broadcasting legends like Dan Patrick, Stuart Scott, and Scott Van Pelt helped elevate the show by injecting run-of-the-mill segments with signature catchphrases and a sense of humor captured in the hallowed “This Is SportsCenter” ad campaign—although an attempt to crack a joke on air recently came back to bite another longtime anchor.
On Monday, John Anderson found himself subjected to mounting criticism for a remark he made while covering a goal scored by Las Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud comparing the last name of the first NHL player hailing from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation to a theoretical brand of toilet paper.
While it wasn’t exactly a great look, it was pretty obvious Anderson wasn’t familiar with Whitecloud’s background when he made that ill-advised quip—and he acknowledged he’d screwed up after sharing a statement with Ben Gotz of The Las Vegas Review-Journal where he apologized for the misstep.
Statement from ESPN’s John Anderson: pic.twitter.com/e77bbwMBGH
— Ben Gotz (@BenSGotz) May 9, 2023
Johnny Resendiz of KTNV said Anderson was also able to personally connect with Whitecloud and that the latter “accepted his apology” after discussing the snafu with the ESPN personality.
Zach Whitecloud addressed the media about the insensitive comment ESPN anchor John Anderson made on his last name.
Whitecloud said he reached out to Anderson, talked it out with him and accepted his apology.
He says this can serve as a learning experience for everyone.
— Johnny Resendiz (@JohnnyResendiz5) May 9, 2023
It’s clear Anderson didn’t have any ill intent and genuinely regretted his error, so it’s good to see Whitecloud was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and patch things up.