A Greek commentator covering the Tokyo Olympics has been fired from his job for making an on-air racist remark about a South Korean athlete. According to reports, ERT television fired journalist Dimosthenis Karmiris for making deplorable remarks during the match between Korea's when Jeoung Young-sik and Greece's Panagiotis Gionis.
Karmiris commented on the eyes of the Korean player and mocked him saying that he wasn't sure how Jeoung could see the ball with such small eyes. The comments were made after Jeoung beat Gionis in menÂ´s table tennis.
Racism in Olympics
Soon after the match between Jeoung and Gionis ended, Karmiris attacked the South Korean player. Asked about the speed and skill of Jeoung, Karmiris said, "Their eyes are narrow so I canÂ´t understand how they can see the ball moving back and forth."
The comments didn't go down well with both the audience as well as the officials of ERT television. In a prompt decision to avoid controversy and take a stand against growing incidents of racism, the television network immediately sacked Karmiris.
ERT later confirmed the news via a statement: "Racist comments have no place on public television. The collaboration between ERT and Dimosthenis Karmiris was terminated today, immediately after the morning show."
Karmiris is a veteran journalist and had collaborated with ERT television as a guest commentator for the Tokyo Olympics. Jeoung defeated Gionis 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6, 14-12 to progress through to the round 16, where he defeated Germany's Timo Boll.
Not in Good Taste
Karmiris' comments were immediately slammed by netizens who watched him on live TV. "It's 2021 and this is how a presenter on Greek state television comments on Asian table tennis players," one person wrote.
"The Tokyo Olympics are rapidly turning into a clusterf*** for the Greek state broadcaster," another user tweeted.
It is not known what made Karmiris make such a comment, more so at a time when many teams and players have been using the Tokyo Olympics as a platform to protest against growing racism and discrimination toward people of color.
Last week, UK's women's soccer team took a knee on the first day of competition in a protest against discrimination and racism that was quickly reciprocated by their opponents from Chile.
That said, it seems such protests are a futile exercise. Following Karmiris' incident, on Wednesday German cycling coach Patrick Moster was caught on camera calling African or Middle Eastern competitors "camel riders."
Moster was shouting encouragement to Nikias Arndt when he was out on course at a feed zone, around 22 minutes into the German's ride. He can be heard, appearing to shout 'Hol die Kameltreiber', which translates as 'go catch the camel riders'.