"I did not & would NEVER use a racist term," Alison Morris said after admitting to stumbling over her words while reporting on Kobe Bryant's death

By Breanne L. Heldman
January 27, 2020 08:50 AM

While speaking about Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna‘s sudden and shocking deaths in a helicopter crash, MSNBC reporter Alison Morris stumbled over her words — and had many concerned she’d dropped a racial epithet when referring to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Earlier today, while reporting on the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing, I unfortunately stuttered on air, combining the names of the Knicks and the Lakers to say ‘Nakers,'” Morris wrote on Twitter soon after the incident. “Please know I did not & would NEVER use a racist term. I apologize for the confusion this caused.”

During her segment, Morris said, “He was just the kind of athlete that was perfectly cast on the Los Angeles Nakers.” She then quickly corrected herself and said “Los Angeles Lakers.”

MSNBC retweeted Morris’ statement.

Morris, 39, is an anchor on MSNBC on Sundays from 2-4 p.m. ET and has been a weekday anchor based in New York City for NBC News Now since July. Before that, she was a business reporter and anchor at Fox 5 in New York.

Before Morris’ tweet, several Twitter users noted the flub and commented on it on Twitter.

Alison Morris; Kobe Bryant
Credit: Mike Pont/WireImage; Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

A number of people came out in support of Morris, including some of her colleagues at MSNBC, urging people to remember that “mistakes happen.”

Bryant and his daughter Gianna were reportedly traveling in his private helicopter when it went down, according to TMZ. Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, was not onboard.

Spokespersons for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and L.A. Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Sources told ESPN that the helicopter was headed to a travel basketball game for Gianna.