Two CBS Sports Network broadcasters apologized Tuesday for insensitive comments regarding a State of Wichita Basketball player’s name.
Commentators Chick Hernandez and Chris Walker provided commentary during the Shockers’ game against Grand Canyon on Monday joked about the cost by Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler. Bear-Chandler’s name is a nod to his Native American heritage.
“I’ll let you say his name,” Walker said on the show. “Is it Pooh Bear? Come on, you must be joking.”
“It’s not Pooh Bear,” Hernandez replied. “It’s 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, ‘Okay, let me look at my notes. Maybe there’s something wrong here,” Walker added.
According to Bear-Chandler’s official Wichita State biography, the senior forward is 50% Native American, with the name “Poor Bear” being a direct reflection of his ancestry. He was raised on a reservation in South Dakota as a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe.
After the game, Bear-Chandler condemned Hernandez and Walker’s comments in a Twitter post.
Hernandez and Walker met with Bear-Chandler Tuesday before the team’s matchup against San Francisco and issued an apology. They also addressed the comments publicly on a Tuesday broadcast.
“Chris and I would like to take this time to publicly thank Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler, his family, the Native American community, NABC and the Hall of Fame Classic for our comments and lack of sensitivity regarding Isaiah’s name during yesterday’s game to excuse. ‘ Hernandez said on the show. “We asked and met with Isaiah this morning to personally apologize and express our deepest regrets. We appreciate Isaiah taking the time to enlighten us about the meaning of his name and legacy. We will continue to learn from it and make better progress.”
“I could only agree with you. And again, our sincere apologies,” Walker added.
After the apology, the Shockers addressed the situation in a statement.
Bear-Chandler returned to Wichita State after playing his junior season as a sophomore at Omaha. Now in his fifth year, Bear-Chandler has totaled eight points and seven rebounds in three games over 34 minutes.
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