Venus Williams of the U.S. returns the ball to Kristina Mladenovic of France during the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2017 tennis tournament match in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

A veteran ESPN announcer sued the sports network Monday for firing him during the Australian Open over accusations that he had used an ethnic slur against tennis superstar Venus Williams.

Doug Adler, who began working for ESPN in 2008 covering the world's biggest tennis matches, came under fire for a comment on Jan. 18 when he said Williams used "the guerrilla effect." The comment went viral because it was pushed along by the New York Times on twitter labeling it as the "appalling" term "gorilla," which "ignited the flames of anger and hatred" against Adler, the lawsuit said.

Adler was fired two days later.

He claims he was using a well-known term to describe aggressive play yet ESPN has destroyed his career.

"By the way ESPN chose to handle this non-issue, they effectively branded me, my character and my reputation for the rest of my life," Adler told