Roland Martin claimed to be mocking soccer, but his bosses at CNN called the tweets “regrettable and offensive” and benched the anchor after sending what they say were “homophobic” tweets during the Super Bowl.
Roland Martin shocked viewers when he tweeted that any male fans of David Beckham’s underwear commercial for H&M were not “real bruhs.”
“If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl” he added.
He also made fun of a New England Patriots player earlier in the day who arrived wearing a pink jump suit.
“He needs a visit from #teamwhipdata-” he quipped.
At first, he tried to justify his tweets saying that he was just making fun of soccer. But many people weren’t buying it.
In addition to taking flak from many of his Twitter followers, GLAAD called for Martin to be fired — immediately.
“Based on this history, this doesn’t seem like a playful jab at what Martin considers an inferior sport. It seems like a jab at what Martin considers an inferior community of people.” Last year, Martin defended Tracy Morgan when Morgan said that if his son were gay he would “take out a knife and stab him.”
On Monday, Martin issued an apology, saying “it was meant to be a deliberately over-the-top and sarcastic crack about soccer; I do not advocate violence of any kind against anyone gay, or not.”
He added, “As anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, anytime soccer comes up during football season it’s another chance for me to take a playful shot at soccer, nothing more.”
But as the backlash continued to grow, it seemed CNN felt it had to put him on injured reserve.
“Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive,” the network said in a statement. “Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”
Martin joined the network in February of 2007 and is a key part of the network’s political programming.