'Words are important': Morris issues on-air apology during return to Tigers TV booth

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Baseball Hall-of-Famer and Bally Sports Detroit color analyst Jack Morris was back in the booth Friday, marking the end of a 10-game suspension for seemingly imitating an Asian accent during an at-bat by Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani in August.

Before the baseball began, though, the former Tiger still had a little cleaning up to do.

Morris, 66, issued an on-air apology to Ohtani, saying that he "appreciated the opportunity to work with a bias training group" and now realizes that "my words are important."

Jack Morris has been part of the Tigers' broadcast team for much of the past decade.

"I again would like to sincerely apologize for my insensitive comment that I made in my last broadcast," Morris said. "I am very sorry that my comment offended so many people, especially the Asian community. I never intended for it to be hurtful or offensive to anyone. I understand that it was perceived that way by many, and I am truly, truly sorry."

Morris, a beloved member of Detroit's 1984 World Series team, said that his work with the bias training group helped deliver "a better understanding of the profound way that bias impacts not just those in sports, but people across all areas of society."

"I want to be a positive influence in our community, in our diverse community. We all can and should be more sensitive and thoughtful about how and what we say, and how it might be perceived by others," Morris said.

"I have the utmost respect for Shohei Ohtani and what he is doing for the game of baseball. He’s a class act, and one of the best players in today’s game. It’s exciting to watch him perform, and I’m one of his biggest fans. I love the diversity in baseball, and that it brings so many countries and cultures together, in an inclusive way, in a game that I have loved my entire life."

"I am determined to be an advocate to educate athletes and people about how to be inclusive and encourage diversity.

Morris closed his statement by thanking several members of the Bally Sports Detroit crew for their support, including play-by-play broadcaster Matt Shepard.