Two CBS Sports Network broadcasters apologized Tuesday for insensitive comments made in regard to a Wichita State basketball player’s name.
During the Shockers’ game against Grand Canyon on Monday, commentators Chick Hernandez and Chris Walker made jokes at the expense of Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler. Bear-Chandler’s name is a nod to his Native American heritage.
“I’m going to let you say his name,” Walker said on the broadcast. “Is it Pooh Bear? Come on, you got to be kidding.”
“It’s not Pooh Bear,” Hernandez replied. “It is Isaiah Pooh Bear.”
“He’s got Pooh Bear on the back of his jersey—44. I love that,” Walker said.
“It’s one of the better names in college basketball,” Hernandez said.
“No, that’s the best name in college basketball. Pooh Bear? Come on. I was like, ‘O.K. let me look at my notes. Maybe there’s something wrong here,’” Walker added.
According to Bear-Chandler’s official Wichita State bio, the senior forward is 50% Native American, with the name “Poor Bear” being a direct reflection of his lineage. He grew up on a reservation in South Dakota as a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe.
Following the game, Bear-Chandler condemned Hernandez and Walker’s comments in a Twitter post.
Hernandez and Walker met with Bear-Chandler ahead of the team’s matchup against San Francisco on Tuesday and apologized. They also publicly addressed the comments on a Tuesday broadcast.
“Chris and I would like to take this time to publicly apologize to Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler, his family, the Native American community, the NABC and the Hall of Fame Classic for our comments and lack of sensitivity surrounding Isaiah’s name during yesterday’s game,” Hernandez said on the broadcast. “We asked for and met with Isaiah this morning to apologize in person and express our deep regret. We appreciate Isaiah taking the time to educate us on the significance of his name and his heritage. We will continue to learn from this and be better moving forward.”
“I couldn’t agree with you more. And again, our sincerest apologies,” Walker added.
Following the apology, the Shockers addressed the situation in a statement.
Bear-Chandler returned to Wichita State after playing his fourth-year junior season at Omaha. Now in his fifth year, Bear-Chandler has totaled eight points and seven rebounds over 34 minutes in three games.
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