News anchor denies using ‘racial slur’ in Kobe Bryant segment

Kobe Bryant died on Sunday, after his helicopter crashed (Picture: Getty Images)

A news anchor has been forced to apologise after she was accused of a racial slur during a segment on Kobe Bryant.

Alison Morris, who is an MSNBC journalist, was on air talking about the tragic death of the NBA legend, who died on Sunday alongside his daughter, 13-year-old Gianna, and several others, when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed in Calabasas, California.

Many thought she’d dropped the n-word during the telecast, as she attempted to say the name of Bryant’s team, the LA Lakers.

Following uproar (which comes after BBC incorrectly showed footage of LeBron James during a segment on Bryant), Alison apologised on Twitter, insisting the slip-up was merely due to her ‘stuttering’ and seemingly mixing the basketball teams the New York Knicks and LA Lakers.

‘Earlier today, while reporting on the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing, I unfortunately stuttered on air, combining the names of the Knicks and the Lakers to say “Nakers”,’ she wrote. ‘Please know I did not & would NEVER use a racist term. I apologize for the confusion this caused.’

However fans were furious, as they accused the presenter of the slur and suggested she step down.

One fumed: ‘I don’t care about political name-calling but that is definitely not what I heard.’

As others insisted her pronunciation was racist, another wrote: ‘This is a hard “g” sound, not a “k” sound. I upped the volume significantly. Whatever you may have meant to say, “Nakers” is definitely not what you said. This deserves more than a quick twitter response and play down.’

Another chimed in with their own thoughts: ‘I don’t care about political name-calling but that is definitely not what I heard.’

However, she had her supporters, who insisted it was an honest stumble and that Alison meant no harm.

‘Geez whiz, folks. Cut the lady some slack. Maybe she was as shocked & stunned as the rest of us at this horrible news. Stop. Think. Would anyone on a major network use such an expletive at such a sad time?!’ a Twitter user defended. ‘She made a mistake. Anyone out there never been tongue-tied? Be kind.’

Kobe and his daughter Gianna were both killed in the tragic crash (Picture: Getty()

While one felt there was no way an anchor would deliberately drop a slur into a segment: ‘No announcer in her right mind would say such a thing on purpose! I think we need to go back to the old idea of giving folks the benefit of the doubt. And frankly we all need it from time to time.’

Fans are still reeling from the devastating news of Bryant and his daughter’s deaths, after news broke on Sunday.

Basketball legend Bryant was killed aged 41 in a helicopter crash; his daughter Gianna also died in the crash, which took the lives of all nine people on board.

The pair were on their way to Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, where Gianna was following in the footsteps of her LA Lakers father and attending basketball practice.

Celebrities have paid tribute to the NBA star, while mourners flocked to the home of the Lakers, the Staples Centre, to construct shrines in honour of the retired star.

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