Steven Adams calls Warriors guards ‘quick little monkeys’, apologizes
Some unfortunate word choice by Steven Adams has resulted in a controversy that led to an apology.
After his Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, Adams was interviewed by ESPN’s Chris Broussard. The center, who was beat up during the game, was asked how challenging it is to guard the Warriors’ guards on the perimeter. Adams tried to express the level of difficulty by comparing the Warriors’ players “quick little monkeys”:
Steven Adams chooses the wrong words to describe the Warriors' guards. "They're quick little monkeys," he says. pic.twitter.com/ss5DbHilqD
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) May 17, 2016
Although Adams was clearly just looking for a word to describe something fast, quick and elusive, comparing anyone who is black or part black to a monkey is going to be taken offensively, for obvious reasons. Adams did not seem to have any ill intent behind the comparison, but the choice of words was terribly unfortunate.
Adams’ comments will remind many sports fans of Howard Cossell, who used to use the term to describe fast, elusive players on the football field too, and came under criticism for infamously describing Washington WR Alvin Garrett in such terms.
Being a New Zealand native, Adams may not understand the sensitivity in America over that particular word. He later apologized.
Adams: "I’m truly sorry. It was just a poor choice of words. I was just trying to express how difficult it was chasing those guys around.”
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) May 17, 2016
Adams also told USA Today’s Sam Amick that his background is part of the reason for the comment.
“It’s just different, mate,” he said. “Different words, different expressions, and stuff like that. But they obviously can be taken differently, depending on which country you’re in. I’m assimilating, mate, still trying to figure out the boundaries. But I definitely overstepped them tonight.”