Jason Franson / Canadian Press via AP
Tuesday, May 9, 2023 | 9:13 a.m.
A longtime ESPN anchor is under fire after mocking Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud’s name on Monday night’s SportsCenter.
John Anderson, who has been with the company since 1999, compared Whitecloud’s name to toilet paper while calling the highlights of the Golden Knights’ 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of their second-round series.
While relaying Whitecloud’s goal that made it 3-1, Anderson said, “What kind of name is Whitecloud? Great name if you’re toilet paper.”
Whitecloud is the first Indigenous NHL player from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. It is a nation, in Whitecloud’s hometown of Brandon, Manitoba, that holds close to 2,500 people.
“This is totally on me and I sincerely apologize to Zach, the Golden Knights, their fans and everyone else for what I said,” Anderson said in a statement. “It’s my job to be prepared and know the backgrounds of the players and I blew it.”
A Golden Knights spokesperson told the Sun that the organization will speak with Whitecloud about a possible response later today.
“I will be reaching out to the team to personally apologize and hope to have the opportunity to speak to Zach, as well,” Anderson’s statement continued.
Whitecloud is in his third trip to the playoffs since signing with the Golden Knights as an undrafted free agent in 2018 out of Bemidji State University. The 26-year-old defenseman has three points in three games this series, which Vegas leads 2-1.
Game 4 is in Edmonton on Wednesday.
This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.