The Cutline

CNN suspends Roland Martin over ‘offensive’ Super Bowl tweets

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
The Cutline

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Martin, Beckham (AP/H&M)

Political commentator Roland Martin has been suspended indefinitely by CNN over a series of tweets he published during the Super Bowl.

"Roland Martin's tweets were regrettable and offensive," CNN 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."

Those comments, published on his personal Twitter feed, concerned a two Super Bowl ads, including an H&M spot showcasing a new David Beckham underwear line.

Martin wrote:

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

Earlier in the game, Martin chastised a player for wearing pink:

Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass

Several gay and lesbian rights groups were outraged. GLAAD said CNN ought to fire Martin: "Advocates of gay bashing have no place at CNN." Even Glenn Beck found Martin's comments insulting.

Martin first tried to defend his tweets as lighthearted ribbing of Beckham's sport. "I made several cracks about soccer as I do all the time," Martin wrote on Twitter. "I was not referring to sexuality directly or indirectly regarding the David Beckham ad, and I'm sorry folks took it otherwise. 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. 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."

The CNN contributor later formally apologized, issuing a statement:

Based on several tweets I made on my Twitter feed on Super Bowl Sunday yesterday, I have been accused by members of the LGBT community of being supportive of violence against gays and lesbians and bullying. That is furthest from the truth, and I sincerely regret any offense my words have caused.

Martin remained on CNN through Tuesday, contributing to its Election Center coverage Tuesday night.

"What Martin tweeted—advocating beatings for men who'd enjoyed the David Beckham underwear ad shown during the Super Bowl plus the same for a New England Patriot clad in a pink suit—was the equivalent of cheerleading for violence against gays," Washington Post columnist Erik Wemple, the first to report Martin's suspension, wrote Wednesday.

Martin did not return a request for comment. No word on how long he will remain off CNN's airwaves.

Several conservatives, however, felt Martin's Twitter trangressions did not warrant a suspension.

"I'm not exactly a dues-paying member of the [Roland Martin] fan club," National Review editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg wrote. "But I think this is ludicrous."

"Same here," Hot Air's Ed Morrissey added. "Overkill."

"Do you really think Roland Martin was seriously advocating violence against men who wear pink and/or enjoy looking at David Beckham in his underpants?" Jim Treacher wrote on the Daily Caller. "Or was he just tweeting stupid stuff in the middle of a Super Bowl party? Do you think maybe you could just relax a minute?"

Martin has a history making provocative statements. Last October, while responding to the U.S.-led attack that killed Anwar al-Awlaki--the American-born radical Islamic preacher turned propaganda chief for al-Qaida--Martin wrote: "Look, I don't want to kill someone. But if you threaten my family [and] one of our lives is in danger, I'm doing all I can to kill you. No apologies."

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