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Juan Pablo Montoya hit with racial slur?

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - During the broadcast of Saturday’s Minnesota-Ohio State football game on ESPN, a color commentator made a racially-charged comment regarding NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

As ESPN returned from a commercial break in the second quarter of the game, it began a promo for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville which will air on ABC and displayed pictures of the top five drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

"Where's Juan Pablo Montoya?" announcer Chris Spielman asked of the Colombian-born driver who fell out of the top-five last weekend.

"He's out having a taco," commentator Bob Griese replied.

NASCAR officials declined to comment and referred all inquiries to ESPN.

Right before the broadcast went off the air and almost two hours since he first made the comment, Griese offered an apology.

"Juan Pablo Montoya, he's one of the best drivers in NASCAR. Just want to apologize for the comment I made earlier in the ball game," he said.

Saturday night ESPN issued a statement saying Griese planned to apologize again during ESPN's Saturday night college football programming.

"ESPN has spoken to Bob and he understands that his comment was uncalled for," the statement read.

Added ESPN spokesman Andy Hall: "ESPN is reviewing the matter thoroughly."

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