Wichita State men’s basketball player Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler is half Native American from the Oglala Lakota tribe and grew up on a reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
His last name is pronounced exactly as it sounds.
During Monday’s Shockers 55-43 win over Grand Canyon University, CBS Sports broadcasters Chris Walker and Chick Hernandez took a few liberties and joked about that pronunciation.
“So it’s okay to make fun of my last name?” Poor Bear-Chandler wrote on Twitter. “Just shows your ability to be serious in a professional setting. Just because my people were nearly colonized doesn’t mean I don’t know where I’m from!
Following Poor Bear-Chandler’s tweet, the Wichita State Athletics issued a statement Tuesday regarding the “inappropriate and insensitive comments.”
“Who had that offensive rebound? I don’t even want to say it. I’ll let you say his name because I want to be sure. Is it ‘Pooh Bear?’ Come on, are you kidding me,” Walker said on the show.
Hernandez apparently tried to clarify that Poor Bear-Chandler’s name has cultural significance while mispronouncing it.
“Isaiah ‘Pooh Bear’ Chandler is 50% Native American from the Oglala Lakota tribe, so he chose to use ‘Pooh Bear’ on his jersey,” he said.
“You know what, I love it. Kudos to Coach Isaac Brown for making it happen,” Walker replied, before do a little where he compared the athlete to Winnie the Pooh.
The fifth-year big man was the backup center for Wichita State’s 2021 AAC regular-season title-winning team and returned to the Shockers after a year-long stint in Omaha.
Wichita State’s statement mentions that Walker and Hernandez have since made “apologetic efforts” in person and on-air.
According to the statement, “Isaiah very much hopes that this unfortunate event will serve as a positive learning opportunity for the benefit of the indigenous community.” He illustrated it by retweeting several educational posts.