A Black member of the Harlem Globetrotters is speaking out about an incident earlier this year where fruits, including a banana, were thrown at him by white news broadcasters as he was performing basketball tricks on an Alabama news show.
Maxwell Pearce discussed the matter Saturday on social media, a day after WBRC-TV aired a show that featured an interview with Pearce about the January incident on Good Day Alabama. During that same newscast, WBRC News Director Shannon Isbell offered an on-air apology to Pearce.
“In a moment of levity during a segment, two members of my team were tossing fruit as well as a basketball,” Isbell said during the show. “One of them threw a banana without knowing the racial implications of that action.”
An edited version of the segment posted on Pearce's YouTube page shows a tangerine being thrown at him during the show by Mickey Ferguson, a weather forecaster on the show.
Pearce, 24, hands the tangerine back to Ferguson before someone behind the camera once again throws the fruit back at Pearce. The video then shows the banana being thrown at him.
“When I caught the fruit, I was so stunned and shocked that I didn’t even know how to react,” Pearce told The Associated Press.
He was on the show promoting an upcoming game with the Globetrotters, an exhibition team known for its combination of comedy and athleticism. He notified the team about the incident, and he says it reached out to the Birmingham news station back in February.
The Harlem Globetrotters did not immediately respond to AP's request for comment.