ESPN’s John Anderson is wishing he had this moment back.
Anderson made a controversial joke about an indigenous player’s last name as he was calling highlights for a playoff game for SportsCenter.
It began with Anderson providing commentary over the highlights from Monday night’s Las Vegas Golden Knights-Edmonton Oilers game in the second round of the NHL playoffs. In the second period of that game, Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud scored his first goal of the playoffs which extended the lead for the team.
Anderson immediately took aim at his name.
“What kind of name is Whitecloud?” Anderson quipped. “Great name if you’re a toilet paper.”
There are just six indigenous players in the league and Whitecloud is the first indigenous NHL player from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.
Sioux Valley Dakota Nation is a First Nations community located in southwestern Manitoba, Canada. The community has its own chief and council and is a member of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. The Dakota Oyate government is responsible for managing the affairs of the community, including health services, education, housing, and economic development.
Whitecloud’s goal helped the Golden Knights 5-1 and take a 2-1 series lead over Edmonton.
Whitecloud played junior hockey in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League before moving on to play collegiate hockey for Bemidji State University in Minnesota. During his time at Bemidji State, Whitecloud gained attention for his strong defensive play and was named to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) All-Rookie Team in the 2016-2017 season.
After completing his college career, Whitecloud signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Vegas Golden Knights in March 2018. When he made his debut in the league, he became the first player of Indigenous heritage from Manitoba to play in the NHL.
Anderson was clearly trying to make a joke, but not realizing it would land him in hot water.