A member of the Harlem Globetrotters is sounding off about a racially insensitive incident he went through earlier this year.
During an appearance on WBRC Fox6’s Good Day Alabama, Maxwell Pearce, known as “Hops Pearce,” was thrown numerous fruits to display his catching ability. Now, after months of consideration, the 24-year-old is speaking out how he felt during the segment when a banana was part of that segment.
On Tuesday (August 18), Pearce told CNN that the appearance on the program was to promote a Globetrotters game that would subsequently take place at Samford University.
"I couldn't tell whether it was reality or not because I was in such disbelief this could happen on a live television segment," he said.
In the video, Pearce is seen standing in a circle with a local anchor and weather forecaster. Before being tossed an actual basketball the weather forecaster threw him a tangerine instead.
"You weren't expecting that one," the forecaster says while laughing. "I certainly wasn't — here you can take that back" Pearce responds as he hands the fruit back. In an extended version of the segment, obtained by CNN, shows another tangerine being thrown at him off camera and then moments later a banana.
WBRC News Director Shannon Isbell issued an apology to Pearce on Monday.
"WBRC Fox6 would like to take this opportunity to again extend a heartfelt and sincere apology to Globetrotter Max Pearce," Isbell said in a statement, according to AL.com. "An on-air segment promoting a Globetrotters event with Mr. Pearce months ago was intended to be lighthearted. However, it became something deeply hurtful to our guest as the result of our lack of understanding."
Pearce said he didn’t want to speak out about the incident right after it happened, but after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, he felt he should let everyone know, if anything, to teach people to think before they act.
“It is unacceptable for someone to have that much experience and live close to the birth of the civil rights movement to not be aware of the history,” he said. "The lack of cultural awareness is extremely shocking and it's very telling about the state of this country right now.”
Isbell also told AL.com that the station has spoken with Pearce since the incident occurred.
"We are grateful for the several enlightening, educational conversations we have had with Max over the last two months," Isbell said. "I was happy to have him on our show about racial inequality and faith that aired last Friday."
Watch Maxwell Pearce’s statement about the incident below.
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images