CBS Broadcasters Mock Native American College Basketball Player

During an NCAA basketball game this week, CBS sports commentators made fun of a Wichita State player of Native American heritage, mocking his name.

In a game between Wichita State and Grand Canyon University, Broadcasters Chick Hernandez and Chris Walker made jokes about Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler’s name, which is a tribute to his Native American heritage.

Poor Bear-Chandler is Oglala Lakota and grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

During the game, Walker said to Hernandez, “I’m going to let you say his name. Is it Pooh Bear? Come on, you got to be kidding.”

Hernandez replied: “It’s not Pooh Bear. It is Isaiah Pooh Bear … It’s one of the better names in college basketball.”

“Well, that’s the best name in college basketball,” Walker responded. “Pooh Bear? Come on.”

The comments were captured on Twitter and quickly spread across social media.

Poor Bear-Chandler answered on Twitter after the game: “So it’s okay to make fun of my last name? Just shows your ability to be serious in a professional setting. Just because my people was almost colonized doesn’t mean I don’t know where I come from! #WeAreStillHere #WildOglala #TeachHim

After the incident caused an uproar on social media, Hernandez and Walker met with Poor Bear-Chandler before his team’s next game and apologized to him. They also commented on the situation on the air Tuesday.

“Chris and I would like to take this time to publicly apologize to Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler, his family, the Native American community, the NABC and the Hall of Fame Classic for our comments and lack of sensitivity surrounding Isaiah’s name during yesterday’s game, Hernandez said. “We asked for and met with Isaiah this morning to apologize in person and express our deep regret. We appreciate Isaiah taking the time to educate us on the significance of his name and his heritage. We will continue to learn from this and be better moving forward.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more,” Walker said. “And again, our sincerest apologies.”

After the on-air apology, the Wichita State Athletic Department released a statement that included a nod to Poor Bear-Chandler for how he handled the situation: “To his credit, Isaiah facilitated an educational and enlightening discussion engaging numerous individuals, including CBS Sports Network’s on-air talent. Isaiah strongly desires for this unfortunate circumstance to serve as a positive learning opportunity in support of the Indigenous community.”

More Stories Like This

Alcatraz Island: Indigenous People Gather at Sunrise on Thanksgiving
Wampanoag Tribe’s ‘People of First Light’ Float Debuts on NBC During the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
Peltola Wins Alaska House Seat, Defeating Palin and Begich
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Awards $100,000 Grant to Fund Native News Coverage

You’re reading the first draft of history.

November is Native American Heritage Month in the United States. We feel like every month — and every day — is a reason for celebrating Native Americans and our heritage. That’s what we try to do here at Native News Online, with stories each day that celebrate, inform and uplift American Indian and Alaska Native people. Over the past year or so, we have been especially busy with three important reporting projects that are having an impact across Indian Country:

  • Indian Boarding Schools. We’ve reported and published more than 150 stories and special live stream video events to help shine a light on the dark era of boarding schools — and help create momentum for change.
  • Native Health Desk. Launched in January, this reporting initiative was created to heighten awareness of Native American health inequities and spotlight pockets of progress in Indian Country. So far we’ve reported and published nearly 120 stories and launched a monthly health newsletter that reaches more than 23,000 readers.
  • Native Bidaske. In March, we launched this live stream interview program to highlight the work of Native Americans who are making news and leading change in Indian Country. We have hosted guests from the federal government and Native rights advocates as well as Indigenous actors, comedians, journalists and models.

We hope you will join us in celebrating Native American heritage and history this November and invite you to consider the old adage that “Journalism is the first draft of history.” If you appreciate the voice Native News Online gives to Native American people, we hope you will support our work with a donation so we can build our Newsroom and continue to amplify Native Voices and Native perspectives.

Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led Newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author

Native News Online Staff

Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button