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ESPN tennis commentator apologizes for description of Venus Williams' style of play

MELBOURNE, Australia -- An ESPN tennis commentator has apologized for how he spoke about Venus Williams' play at the Australian Open, saying he was describing her aggressive style as "guerrilla" tactics and not comparing her to a "gorilla."

Doug Adler said Thursday that he was speaking about Williams' tactics and strategy and "simply and inadvertently chose the wrong word to describe her play."

Adler was doing play-by-play commentary for Williams' second-round match Wednesday against Stefanie Voegele, saying Williams was playing more aggressively after Voegele missed serves. After Voegele faulted on a serve, Adler described Venus as moving in and charging with a "gorilla effect" or "guerrilla effect." Because the words gorilla and guerrilla are pronounced similarly, it's impossible to say for certain which word Adler spoke.

The remark sparked quick reaction on Twitter, with some offended users calling for Adler to be fired for comparing Williams, who is African-American, with a gorilla.

ESPN released a statement Thursday saying Adler has been pulled from the broadcasts in Melbourne.

"During an Australian Open stream on ESPN3, Doug Adler should have been more careful in his word selection. He apologized and we have removed him from his remaining assignments," the statement read.