Bob Chase said he intended no malice whatsoever with a remark made Saturday during the course of the Komets game at Rapid City, S.D.
In the second period of the Komets 3-1 victory over the Rush, after a Fort Wayne player was stick-checked from behind, the teams longtime play-by-play broadcaster said: A little Jap attack from behind that time.
Chase, 85, who is in his 59th season calling Komets games, is a veteran of World War II and served in the Navy in the Pacific Theater for 2 1/2 years.
If I had said something that was a critical thing with reflections on specific people like the Japanese, that would be something, Chase said. Were more than 60 years away from that war. And I was in that war. ... To me, what I said was not a slur.
The 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is Wednesday.
Chase has called every season of Komets hockey except the inaugural one, and he has served as the teams general manager. He has the No. 40 retired in his honor at Memorial Coliseum. He is also the former sports director at WOWO, which carries the Komets games.
Chase said he was saddened to learn at least one listener had contacted The Journal Gazette expressing dismay over Chases description.
I dont want to be inconsiderate to anybody, Chase said. This was part of our vocabulary for a lot of years. And if you havent lived (through WWII), its hard to understand.
Chase said, however, people can be overly sensitive.
I feel sad about (this) kind of a thing, he said. A little, teeny-weeny nitpicking moment. People dont understand or are so sensitive that they lurk on every word so they can pounce, and thats a spiteful person.
Organizations like the Japanese American Citizens League decry the derogatory nature of Jap. But Koichiro Otani, a Japanese-born associate professor at IPFW in the department of public policy, doesnt consider Chases remark particularly offensive.
In the context of a hockey game, I dont think of this as such a big thing, Otani said. He wasnt referencing some really terrible attack. A play like this happens all the time in the course of a game, right? If someone brings a knife and he injures another person, that would be worse. ... Some people wont like (him using Jap) but I dont personally think its that offensive, no.
Komets president Michael Franke couldnt be reached for comment.
The Komets (11-5-0), who have won a CHL-best six in a row, play at Bloomington, Ill., on Friday. The Blaze is a league-worst 3-12-2.
Notes: Tonight at Applebees on North Clinton Street, there will be a tip-a-Komet event. The team will wait tables from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation. ... Fans are asked to bring donations such as books, magazines, soap and socks to the next three Komets home games (Saturday, Sunday and Dec. 17) to support U.S. troops as part of Operation Komet Kare Package. For more information on what to donate, call 481-0011.