Via Outsports — ESPN apologizes for ‘fist kiss’ ad featuring Shaquille O’Neal. ESPN’s statement:
ESPN has apologized for and stopped running an ad promoting its NBA coverage that some found homophobic (see background story here), and that GLAAD lobbied against. Ted Rybka at GLAAD sent us the network’s apology.
We have dozens of executions of the “NBA on ESPN RV Tour” online campaign and none are intended to be offensive to anyone or any community of people. Our intent is to send a positive message about the camaraderie of sports and to do so as creatively as we can. However, we understand your perspective on this ad and would like to apologize to the members of the gay community. In addition, we have decided to remove the ad from the campaign’s online executions.
ESPN has a long-standing tradition of supporting diversity in the workplace and beyond. We are fully committed to continuing a dialogue that welcomes and recognizes diverse perspectives. We appreciate your bringing your concerns to our attention.
This was a quick response to a real issue. ESPN, with its history of support of gay issues, deserves as much credit for being so responsive as the gay population deserves for speaking up.