Sportscaster Sean McDonough has been called out after he made a questionable remark about the name of San Francisco Giants executive Farhan Zaidi on air.
During Tuesday night’s commentary of the Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees game on sports radio station WEEI-FM, play-by-play broadcaster Will Flemming clearly stated Zaidi’s name during a discussion about the Giants’ success this year.
“Their GM’s name is ‘High Anxiety’?” McDonough asked, as heard in audio shared by SF Gate editor-in-chief Grant Marek.
His colleague laughed it off and then clearly repeated the pronunciation of the name.
“Oh,” McDonough said, chuckling.
Here’s audio from last night’s WEEI-FM radio call of the Red Sox-Yankees game where broadcaster Sean McDonough appears to mock Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi’s name. pic.twitter.com/fqvW0Yi5cv— Grant Marek (@Grant_Marek) October 6, 2021
Zaidi, a Canadian-born Muslim Pakistani who grew up in the Philippines, was the first Muslim general manager of any American pro sports franchise. As the Giants’ president of baseball operations, he remains among a handful of Muslim and Asian American executives in the top echelons of pro sports.
While some listeners online dismissed the comments as an “innocent joke” after SF Gate first called McDonough out, others said it was unacceptable and offensive and told him to do better.
Intentionally and unintentionally mispronouncing names that do not conform to white, American or Eurocentric standards constitutes a form of microaggression.
McDonough, who has also worked at ESPN for about three decades, also provides commentary for the NHL, college football, golf and a range of other sports.
Representatives of WEEI-FM and the Giants did not immediately return requests for comment.
A number of baseball commentators have been caught out in recent years over insensitive remarks about players with diverse backgrounds.
In August, Detroit Tigers analyst Jack Morris was suspended after using what sounded like a mock Asian accent while discussing Los Angeles Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani. And in 2017, New England Sports Network announcer Jerry Remy said it should be illegal for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to require an interpreter during mound visits and said he should “learn baseball language.” That same year, Philadelphia Phillies analyst Mike Schmidt was forced to apologize after saying on air that Venezuelan Phillies star Odubel Herrera couldn’t lead the team because he’s not fluent in English.
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