CNN Contributor Roland Martin In Trouble Over Tweets About The David Beckham H&M Super Bowl Ad

By , February 7, 2012 2:07 pm

UPDATE: CNN suspended Roland Martin.

When the David Beckham underwear ad for clothing retailer H&M came on during the Super Bowl, CNN’s Roland Martin took to Twitter to comment on it. Now, Martin is under fire from gay rights group GLAAD.

Here are Martin’s tweets:

A lot of people on Twitter responded negatively to the remark, including GLAAD. The gay rights group and Martin had this exchange:

Critics also point to a history of remarks including this piece he wrote on his website in 2006. In the post, he equates homosexuality to sinful behavior like stealing and infidelity and says his wife, a Baptist minister, “has counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle.”

On Monday, Martin posted this on his Twitter feed:

Fam, let me address the issue that some in the LGBT community have raised regarding some of my Super Bowl tweets yesterday. I made several cracks about soccer as I do all the time. 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.

Martin’s Twitter timeline is filled with protestations that he was just talking about soccer. Even if that’s the case, he implies football is a better sport because it’s manlier. And because it’s better and manly, it should beat up inferior and less manly sports – presumably, like soccer – and the people who like them. By saying a “real bruh” wouldn’t buy David Beckham’s underwear and by suggesting followers should “smack the ish [shit]” out of someone who likes the ad, he basically said my sport is better, manlier, and can kick the shit out of you and your sport.

That’s if you believe he was just talking about soccer, but I don’t think he was.

Yes, David Beckham is one of the most popular soccer players in the world, and the undoubtedly the most popular in the U.S. But he’s also one of the biggest celebrities in the world. And that ad had nothing to do with soccer. It was Becks showing his pecks and abs in tighty-whities. On a sexual level – really, the only level in the ad – the commercial wasn’t meant to appeal to straight guys, like the GoDaddy ads. The H&M Beckham ad was meant to appeal to women and gay men. And a commercial that would unabashedly sexualize a man, turning him into and object of desire and vulnerability in order to appeal to those two groups during the heterosexually testosterone-filled Super Bowl might make some men uncomfortable.

But maybe Martin didn’t see any of that. Maybe Martin saw past all quick shots of Beckham nearly naked body and only saw a soccer player.

Monday night, Martin apologized again saying that he is against bullying towards anyone including those in the LGBT community, he “sincerely regret[s] any offense my words have caused,” maintains that his remarks were just about soccer, but concedes, “I can certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one I meant.”

He also said in his statement:

I’m disheartened that my words would embolden prejudice. While public debate over social issues is healthy, no matter which side someone takes, there is no room for debate as to whether we need to be respectful of others.

As someone who has spoken out forcefully against bigotry against African Americans and other minorities, as well as sexism against women, I fully understand how a group who has been unfairly treated would be offended by such comments, and, again, I am sorry for any offense my remarks caused.

So, what do you think? Are people making too much out of this, or did Martin reveal a bit of homophobia in his tweets? And if he did, should CNN fire him?

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