Washington DC – The National Iranian American Council welcomes the on-air apology issued by Ralph Lawler and Mike Smith following their derogatory remarks about Iranian NBA basketball player, Hamed Haddadi.
NIAC spearheaded a campaign to get Fox to apologize for the remarks. More than 2,000 Iranian Americans emailed Fox over the weekend to demand an apology. The key demand NIAC has made is that the apology should be made on air, and not just on the Fox website.
On Monday evening, the two Fox anchors, Ralph Lawler and Mike Smith, issued an apology on air.
While NIAC welcomes the on air apology, it is important to note that it was not only Clippers fans and people at Wednesday’s game who were insulted by their comments, but many of us in the Iranian-American community and beyond.
Although NIAC regrets the comments were made in the first place, the rapid response from the Iranian American community serves as a testament to what our community is capable of accomplishing when we stand together in unity.
Hamed Haddadi, is the first Iranian basketball player to play in the NBA. He led the Iranian national basketball team to win the 2009 Asia Cup and since November 2008 has played for the Memphis Grizzlies. Despite his many successes on the court, Haddadi has shown himself to be a charitable person off court. In September 2009, he launched his first annual Hamed Haddadi Basketball Camp, attended by over 100 children, many of which were from the Iranian-American community. The proceeds from the event went to his newly launched Javanan Foundation, where he hopes to sponsor and award scholarships to student athletes across the nation.
Listen to Trita Parsi’s interview with ESPN hours before the on-air apology was made.