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CBS Broadcasters Apologize to Native American Basketball Player After Mocking His Name

CBS Sports broadcasters Chris Walker and Chick Hernandez have come under fire after making fun of basketball player Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler during Monday’s (November 21) game betw

“Who got that offensive rebound? I don’t even want to say it. I’ll let you say his name because I want to be sure. Is it ‘Pooh Bear?’ Come on; you got to be kidding me,” Walker said of the Wichita State player.

Hernandez responded, “Isaiah ‘Pooh Bear’ Chandler is 50% Native American from the Oglala Lakota tribe, so he chose to use ‘Pooh Bear’ on his jersey.”

“You know what, I love that. Shoutout to Coach Isaac Brown for allowing it to happen,” Walker replied before continuing to compare the athlete to Winnie the Pooh.

Poor Bear-Chandler, pictured above in black, was raised on a reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He took to Twitter after the game to respond to the commentators’ remarks. “So it’s okay to make fun of my last name?” he tweeted. “Just shows your ability to be serious in a professional setting. Just because my people was almost colonized doesn’t mean I don’t know where I come from!”

Many fans also felt Poor Bear-Chandler was disrespected, with one Twitter user writing, “If you get PAID to call games and say people’s names, maybe research in advance to understand it’s a Native American name.”

“Such a disgraceful display @CBSSports,” added another fan. “What a missed opportunity to enlighten the audience about the Oglala Sioux and @Big_I35 name. The @CBSSports announcers were lazy and juvenile. They choose to make fun of a name instead of researching the rich history behind it.”

“It’s not okay. The hypocrisy when they read from their script about how it’s Native American Heritage Month (with the camera on you) while they mocked your name and congratulated your coach for ALLOWING you to have your name on your jersey,” wrote another. “It was disgusting and disrespectful.”

The official Wichita State social media pages later issued a statement admonishing the comments while also noting that Walker and Hernandez had made “apologetic efforts.”

“Isaiah strongly desires for this unfortunate event to serve as a positive learning opportunity in support of the indigenous community,” the statement read.

According to AwfulAnnouncing.com, Hernandez and Walker met with Poor Bear-Chandler to apologize in person on Tuesday morning. “Chris and I would like to take this time to publicly apologize to Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler, his family, the Native American community, NABC, the Hall of Fame Classic for our comments and lack of sensitivity surrounding Isaiah’s name during yesterday’s game,” Hernandez said.

He continued: “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.”

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