Brought to you by the editors of People en Español.
Monday Night Football came back to television screens all over the country last night and two African Americans—Vance Joseph for the Denver Broncos and Anthony Lynn for the Los Angeles Chargers—made their NFL debuts as head coaches in the same game. In celebration of their achievement, Mexican sideline reporter Sergio Dipp, who was making his first MNF appearance, awkwardly expressed his admiration for Joseph.
“Folks, it’s a pleasure to be with you guys, here on the field, from up close, just watching Coach Vance Joseph from here, you watch him now on the screen,” Dipp nervously said as the camera panned over to Joseph. “His diversity and his background is helping him a lot tonight,” he added, ticking off Joseph’s accomplishments: “Quarterback at Colorado, defensive back in the NFL, and here he is, having the time of his life this night, making his head coaching debut.”
A full-on frenzy ensued online with football fans both roasting and sympathizing with the sweetly earnest and overly nervous reporter. Dipp responded to his newfound fame with laughing emojis and memes.
Although his initial reaction seemed to sync with the spirit of fans’ feedback, on Tuesday he got somber, posting a heartfelt video apology, trying to explain his on-air fumble.
“It’s been a couple of hours now, trying to digest what just happened to a 29-year-old Mexican guy like me,” he said. “It’s 9/11, I’m in Denver, Colo., and this is the NFL, a ‘Monday Night Football’ game between the Broncos and the Chargers, the biggest stage possible. I was starting my elementary school Sept. 11, 2001, in Calexico, California, born in Mexicali, Baja California, but growing up in the American environment as a minority, a minority like head coaches Vance Joseph [of the Broncos] and Anthony Lynn [of the Chargers].
He went on to say, “So all I wanted to do was show some respect, making my debut as a minority on American national TV, the biggest stage out there on the most heartfelt day in this great country made up by immigrants. And on some people’s perspective, it all went wrong. But I truly meant no disrespect, because all I wanted to do was to show some love to those two historical head coaches. Hopefully, I’ll have another chance and be sure I’ll make the most out of it.”
Dipp joined ESPN in 2013 for Spanish-language ESPN Deportes.