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ESPN anchor suspended for remarks

EDITORS’ NOTE: The following article makes reference to a vile curse word to alert people of faith to an anti-Christian remark by an ESPN anchor. The editorial staff regrets repeating the statement (even with censoring); however, there is no other way to report the affront.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A profanity-laced tirade earned ESPN anchor Dana Jacobson a weeklong suspension from her duties with the sports network.

According to various reports, an intoxicated Jacobson reportedly hurled a string of “F-word” insults aimed at Notre Dame, Touchdown Jesus and Jesus Christ Himself during a Jan. 11 roast in Atlantic City, N.J., for ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, of the ESPN radio show “Mike and Mike in the Morning.”

The Chicago Tribune reported that ESPN suspended Jacobson for a week, though ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys declined to give specifics of the disciplinary action taken against her. In a statement ESPN distanced itself from Jacobson’s actions and comments but acknowledged she had been suspended for an unspecified time.

“Ms. Jacobson’s inappropriate comments were delivered in the context of Notre Dame football and its Touchdown Jesus icon,” the statement read. “They were wrong and inexcusable and she was suspended from her duties. Her uncharacteristic behavior was not aimed at a particular religious faith. They took place at an adult-only roast that was not aired on any ESPN outlet.”

Jacobson, co-host of the ESPN2 show “First Take” issued an apology.

“My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive,” she said.” I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words. I won’t make excuses for my behavior, but I do hope I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment.”

Some Christian groups remain dissatisfied with the disciplinary action taken against Jacobson. The Christian Defense Coalition held a public demonstration and prayer vigil outside ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., Jan. 27. Patrick Mahoney, the group’s director, has called for Jacobson’s firing.

“Hate speech, and religious intolerance should have no place in American society,” Mahoney said in a CDC press release. “When we see these things raise their ugly head, it is critical that people of good will unite together and prayerfully stand against such bigotry and prejudice. …

“Her comments are so outrageous and inflammatory that the only proper response for ESPN is to immediately release her,” Mahoney continued. “A week suspension is simply not enough and sends a message that ESPN tolerates this kind of behavior and speech.”

Mahoney argued that if Jacobson had made similar comments about Muslims, Jews or African-Americans, her statements would have resulted in much more outrage.

“Although the faith community can forgive and extend mercy to Ms. Jacobson, she still must assume full responsibility and accept the consequences for her hate-filled rhetoric,” Mahoney said.

In his initial reporting of the event, The Press of Atlantic City writer Scott Cronick said the crowd booed Jacobson, who had to be removed from the stage.

“ESPN anchor Dana Jacobson made an absolute fool of herself, swilling vodka from a Belvedere bottle, mumbling along and cursing like a sailor as Mike & Mike rested their heads in their hands in embarrassment,” Cronick wrote.
Tim Ellsworth is director of news and media relations for Union University and editor of BP Sports.

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  • Tim Ellsworth
    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.Read All by Tim Ellsworth ›