Bob Griese, an ESPN sports analyst, made what could be considered a racial remark about NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya. When asked where Montoya was, Griese replied, “Out eating a taco.”
The network was promoting the NASCAR race coverage during a football game and had a graphic up with the top five drivers in the Chase displayed.
Color commentator and ESPN colleague Chris Spielman asked Griese, “Where’s Montoya?”
Griese responded, “Out eating a taco.”
Bob Griese apologized two times during the broadcast about the remark he made while broadcasting the football game between Ohio State and Minnesota.
“Juan Pablo Montoya is one of the best drivers in NASCAR. I just want to apologize for the comment I made earlier in the ballgame,” Griese stated in his apology.
ESPN then released a statement:
“During today’s telecast of the Ohio State-Minnesota college football game on ESPN, analyst Bob Griese made an inappropriate comment when discussing NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya.”
The statement continued, “Bob apologized during the telecast, and plans to apologize again during ESPN’s college football programming after his plane lands. ESPN has spoken to Bob and he understands that his comment was uncalled for.”
NASCAR media reported that Bob Griese had even contacted Montoya directly and issued an apology for his off-hand but possibly discriminatory remark.
Juan Pablo Montoya didn’t seem to bothered by the comments and at the end of his news conference he smiled and joked about the incident.
“I don’t even know who he is,” Montoya said. “Somebody mentioned it to me. I don’t really care to tell you the truth. I could say I spent the last three hours eating tacos, but I was actually driving the car.”
Then Montoya handed off the press conference to the second-place finisher Jimmie Johnson, the three-time Sprint Cup champ and current points leader. Johnson couldn’t resist the temptation and said, “Can you save some tacos for me? I love tacos.”
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