Sunrise co-host David Koch left his co-stars visibly stunned on-air this morning when he made a reference to slavery during a news item about Jamaican-born athlete Usain Bolt.

Koch was on a panel alongside co-host Sam Armytage, newsreader Natalie Barr and sports reporter Mark Beretta as Baretta read out a story about sporting great Bolt possibly being headhunted from his current position at the Central Coast Mariners Football Club.

"So the Mariners sell him for money, they make a lot of money out of it?" asked Koch.

"It's a win-win: You keep him, great. You sell him, so be it. That's the tough world of professional football," said Beretta.

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"Who said slavery was over — anyway. No," said Koch, stumbling over his words before quickly changing topic.

The cameras soon cut away from the host — but not before the rest of the panel reacted to Koch's clanger.

The unfortunate comment didn't go unnoticed by Sunrise viewers:

This is what Kochie had to say about the transfer of one of the world's greatest athletes, Usain Bolt, on Sunrise this morning. #sun7

News.com.au has contacted Sunrise for comment. Kochie's clanger comes a month after Sunrise was found to have breached the TV code of practice over a March 13 segment on Indigenous children that was deemed "highly offensive, racist and divisive".