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Ralph Lawler, Mike Smith suspended from telecast after joking about Iranian Hamed Haddadi

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hamed-haddadi.jpgLos Angeles Clippers announcers Ralph Lawler and Mike Smith were suspended from Friday night's telecast after making comments about Memphis Grizzlies' Hamed Haddai on Wednesay.

The duo had the following exchange in the closing minutes of the Clippers' loss to the Grizzlies, which prompted a viewer to complain and Fox Sports Prime Ticket to take action.

Smith: "Look who's in."

Lawler: "Hamed Haddadi. Where's he from?"

Smith: "He's the first Iranian to play in the NBA." (Smith pronounced Iranian as "Eye-ranian," a pronunciation that offended the viewer who complained.)

Lawler: "There aren't any Iranian players in the NBA," repeating Smith's mispronunciation.

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?"

Smith: "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."

The 7-foot-2 Haddai is, indeed, the first Iranian to ever play in the NBA. At least they got that part correct. He's averaging .7 points per game in six appearances this year.

In a statement, the network said they believed the comments were not intended to be offensive, but were inappropriate. 

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11 Comments

I was watching the game in question and heard the comments but I missed being offended because EVERY ONE in the United States mispronounces Iran ("e-ran"), as ("Eye-ran") and Iraq ("E-raq") as ("Eye-rack"). It's rarely pronounced correctly all over the national media! Once Christiane Amanpour of CNN pointed that out on one of her reports. Ralph Lawler and Mike Smith are the best sports broadcasting team since in LA since "chick and Stu". I hope this will be quickly forgiven and forgotten.

Dave
Clippers fan

Ralph and Mike are the only things that make watching the Clippers bearable. Their banter is often tongue in cheek and not meant to be offensive --- let's stop worrying so much about being PC

This suspension is absolutely IDIOTIC!!!

Ralph & Mike are the only entertaining element in the Clippers' games!!! Enough with the PC tripe!!!! Bring them back NOW!!!

When do you want to stop being a racist in us? shameful... the funny thing is that americans who are a mixture of every culture in the world, and has no fixed origin, make fun of other age old cultures.

PS. if you haven't feel offended by these comments, then watch Borat, the movie they're referring Hamed Haddadi to. it's a shame, sick commentators... one match ban doesn't punish what they've did. I hope you respect the same freedom of speech that leaded to such words and publish this comment as well.

GOOOOO CLIPPERS!! it was only a joke. get over it!

I play on a horrible team.
We have horrible players.
We have a horrible coach.
We have horrible staff.
We have horrible commentators.
FML

@ A - A

You seem to have misinterpreted the comments. They weren't saying he was related to Borat because of where he's from, that wouldn't make any sense, they were saying it because the dude bares a resemblance to Sacha Baron Cohen.

I fail to see how unintentionally mispronouncing the name of a country is racist, or that because of said mispronunciation the entire country racist. I can understand that if may make a few viewers roll their eyes and shout at the TV, but you shouldn't punish somebody for speaking in their own naturalized accent. If you continue to do that, then where exactly will it end?

It was a low blow comment. Even Kazakhstan isn't the way Cohen painted it. You don't mess with Iranians in their own city....Tehran-geles. Have you seen us protest?

Now it's an insult to mis-pronounce the name of a country? Clipper fans need to find something else to do with their money. At least, skip the games until these guys are reinstated.

DON IMUS TYPE COMMENTS, THESE GUYS ARE GOING TO BE IN THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE BEFORE LONG IF THEY DON'T WAKE UP TO WHAT THEY ARE SAYING IS VERY OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE, COMMENT ON THE GAMES, AND LEAVE THE PERSONAL STUFF OUT OF THE BANTER!

Lawler and Smith should be suspended. More here:

http://willworkforjustice.blogspot.com/2009/11/ralph-lawler-and-michael-smith-racists.html

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?

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