Putting together a poor choice of words, the 59-year-old said:
"She misses a first serve and Venus is all over her. You see Venus move in and put the gorilla effect on. Charging."
The comments instantly ignited a social media firestorm, with many Twitter users blasting the former athlete for putting the racist effect on his commentary — including New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg, who called the comment "appalling":
Some critics defended Adler, claiming he didn't call Williams a "gorilla," but instead said "guerilla effect" — a warfare tactic that means to attack and ambush:
@cummingsgoings she was not called a gorilla he said guerrilla effect. Guerrilla warfare is to attack and ambush
— Deane James (@Deanejamesmusic) January 19, 2017
Adler has yet to respond to the backlash over his remarks. We'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt, as we hope a seasoned commentator wouldn't make a gross, racist Freudian slip while covering a tennis legend on live TV.
However, other Twitics weren't so forgiving. Watch the controversial commentary (below) and some strong reactions: