Clippers Annoucers Pay The Price For Mistaking Iran For Kazakhstan

Posted in Basketball, Racism Corner at 11:32 am by

Los Angeles Clippers TV announcers Ralph Lawler and Michael Smith were excused from last night’s game against Denver after a season ticket holder complained to Fox Sports about the duo’s remarks concerning Grizzlies C Hamed Haddadi during a Wednesday contest with Memphis. For Lawler, this was the first Clippers telecast he’d missed in a quarter century, proving that while he might be a bigot, he’s certainly a masochist. The LA TImes’ Diane Pucin details Lawler and Smith’s comments from Wednesday ;

Lawler: “There aren’t any Iranian players in the NBA?” repeating Smith’s pronunciation of the word “Iranian.” (“EYE-ranian”)

Smith: “He’s the only one.”

Lawler: “He’s from Iran?”

Smith: “I guess so.”

Lawler: “That Iran?”

Smith: “Yes.”

Lawler: “The real Iran?”

Smith: “Yes.”

Lawler: “Wow. Haddadi — that’s H-A-D-D-A-D-I.”

Smith: “You’re sure it’s not Borat’s older brother?”

Lawler laughed and Smith continued, “If they ever make a movie about Haddadi, I’m going to get Sacha Baron Cohen to play the part.”

Lawler: “Here’s Haddadi. Nice little back-door pass. I guess those Iranians can pass the ball.”

Smith: “Especially the post players.”

Lawler: “I don’t know about their guards.”

Season ticket holder Ayra Towfighi, vice president and assistant general counsel for Univision Communications Inc., in L.A., said his goal was not to demand any punishment for Lawler and Smith but to, he said, “Highlight the issue that a lot of folks wouldn’t consider saying such things about African Americans or Hispanics but because this was an Iranian player it just flowed more easily.”

In what Pucin describes as “a scheduling quirk”, the Clippers host Memphis a week from tomorrow and are offering fans a chance to meet and greet Haddadi as part of “Iran Heritage Day”. No word yet if the Clippers intend to give Lawler and Smith a crash course in cultural diversity, but perhaps the organization can obtain a discount on such services by having Donald Sterling attend the same classes.

4 responses to “Clippers Annoucers Pay The Price For Mistaking Iran For Kazakhstan”

  1. Rog says:

    “If they ever make a movie about Haddadi, I’m going to get Sacha Baron Cohen to play the part.”

    I didn’t know that Ralph Lawler controlled casting decisions on Hollywood movies. Just don’t tell him that Cohen is Jewish. His head might explode

  2. Matt Raft says:

    Lawler and Smith should be suspended. More here:


    And imagine this scenario:

    Smith: There’s Najera coming onto the floor.

    Lawler: That’s the player from Mex-eee-ko, right?

    Smith: Is he from the real Mex-eee-ko, or the new one, right here in New Mexico?

    Lawler: Ha ha, are you sure he isn’t the older brother of Slowpoke Rodriguez?

    Smith: If they ever make a movie about him, they should get a Norteno or Sureno to play him. Wow, nice steal…those Mexicans can really steal the ball, can’t they?

  3. Roger Jones says:

    This announcer Smith is really on a crash course with infamy. First he borrows money and leaves his ‘best friend’ in dire straits because he can’t honor his commitment to pay it back. Now we find him being racially insensitive while on-air. If you’re going to persue a career in professional broadcasting, you should pay attention to the prior broadcasters who have blown their careers doing the same thing. Unbelievable.

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