As promised, ESPN has issued an apology for its airing of the Shaquille O'Neal/Mike Breen promotional spot.
In a statement issued today, GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano said, "We are pleased that ESPN realized that this ad was problematic and decided to remove it so quickly. Ads that exploit these kinds of clichéd stereotypes may elicit cheap laughs, but they also send a message that some people are less deserving than others of dignity and respect. We will continue to work with ESPN to promote media images of the LGBT community that are fair, accurate and inclusive."
ESPN's apology follows below:
"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."