The Phoenix Suns defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 118-108 on Thursday night in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately, Phoenix’s dominant showing wasn’t the most talked about story on Friday.
Rather, the thing that had social media in a tizzy was a racial comment made by ABC broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy.
The comment in question came with just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter:
Did Jeff Van Gundy really just say, “He (Booker) looks like a choir boy, but plays like a hoodlum”. Okay what does that mean? 🤬 @ABCNetwork #NBAFinals2021 pic.twitter.com/dj3QwlQvjX
— Jo. (@gotjojo_) July 9, 2021
“(Booker) looks like a choir boy, but plays like a hoodlum,” Van Gundy could be heard saying.
Naturally, social media had some reactions:
Hi @espn. What you gonna do about Jeff Van Gundy saying that Devin Booker plays like a hoodlum? What kinda wack commentary is that? Has no place in the call of a game at the highest level of a sport.
— Cole Streeper (@sundevilcole7) July 9, 2021
“He looks like a church boy but plays like a hoodlum” – Jeff van gundy.
Me : pic.twitter.com/oXOxbuxfS9
— Suckatash (@Suckatash3) July 9, 2021
Me when I heard Jeff Van Gundy say that Devin Booker “looks like a choir boy but is playing like a hoodlum” pic.twitter.com/tGMEyQurxa
— Vann “Just take that L” Pugh (@themadlineman) July 9, 2021
Some went as far as to call for Van Gundy’s termination.
“He looks like a choir boy, but plays like a hoodlum.” Jeff Van Gundy… … FIRE HIS ASS IMMEDIATELY!!! #Devinbooker
— JUST TAE (@IamJustTae) July 9, 2021
@ESPNNBA I’m calling for Van Gundys Job after the insensitive comments he made about Devin Booker’s game tonight. Saying that Booker plays like a “hoodlum” is clearly a stereotype and racist. Fire Van Gundy. I am starting a boycott group on social media.
— justin salsbury (@SalsburyJustin) July 9, 2021
This isn’t the first race-related row ABC/ESPN has found itself in over the past week. The feud between Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor has gotten so bad that the biggest superstar in the NBA has weighed on it. In fact, it’s blown up so much that salacious side-scandals are starting to emerge from it.
Will this incident reach the same levels of notoriety? Probably not.
Since Conor McGregor is so quick to talk about Dustin Poirier’s wife… https://t.co/dutD0Q3zac
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 9, 2021
It will be interesting to see if ABC/ESPN ultimately takes the sort of drastic actions some fans want them to over Van Gundy’s comment or if they’ll just wait for this whole thing to blow over.
Related: Danny Green Calls Out 76ers Fans Over Bad Behavior