Roland Martin’s Suspension by CNN, The Tweets and His Half-Ass Apology

CNN pulled the plug on Roland Martin yesterday for his tweets suspending him for an unspecified amount of time.  He was accused of making anti-gay remarks and encouraging bullying.

Here is the official statement released by CNN

“Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive,” the cable news channel 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.”


Let’s get down to it.  There were three tweets that basically started everything:


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


“If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!’


Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear!’



He should have known he was in trouble when he received a tweet back from GLAAD:

@rolandsmartin Advocates of gay bashing have no place at @CNN #SuperBowl #LGBT

After the GLAAD tweet, he started to really come under fire and responded with a quick apology,

“I was not referring to sexuality directly or indirectly regarding the David Beckham ad, and I’m sorry folks took it otherwise,”

But that was not enough.  Not even close…

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance was all over this like…like….well they were just all over it.  They were quick to pull Roland Martin’s history of anti-Gay-like actions such as defending Tracy Morgan’s anti-Gay statement and comparing being gay to alcoholism.

Initially CNN somewhat washed their hands of the entire thing stating that he made the comments on Twitter and not the television network itself.  During an interview Mark Whitaker, Executive Vice President at CNN stated,

“For the moment we’re letting him apologize and we’re hoping that people will understand that he is sorry for what he said,”

After continued mounting pressure, CNN changed their stance and suspended Roland Martin indefinitely.


Roland then releases an apology on his website.

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.

I have consistently said on television, radio, and in print, that I am steadfast against bullying. As I wrote on, as well as said on the nationally-syndicated Dr. Phil Show, I believe parents and schools need to take an active role in ending this epidemic that afflicts kids nationwide, gay or not.

In fact, I was bullied in school, and watched another middle schooler pulled a knife on my father when he boarded our school bus and came to the defense of me and my brother. My position has been unequivocal on this issue, and will remain so.

When we witness violence in this country against someone because they are gay, or being beaten because they are Black, that speaks to a vicious cycle that seems to be never ending.

My joking about smacking someone, whether it was in response to a commercial or food they prepare for a Super Bowl party or wearing an opposing team’s jersey, was stated in jest. It was not meant literally, and in no way would I ever condone someone doing such a thing.

As I said repeatedly, I often make jokes about soccer in the U.S., and my crack about David Beckham’s commercial was related to that and not to anyone’s sexuality. To those who construed my comment as being anti-gay or homophobic or advancing violence, I’m truly sorry. I can certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one I meant.

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.

But my focus has been steadfast and resolute in being a strong voice against such issues. My conviction has always been to speak progressively on issues confronting this country, and I will continue to do so.

Twitter continues to be an outlet that if missed used can be disastrous.  As someone who is immersed in race issues, politically astute and generally intelligent, I’m surprised by the tweets and I’m also surprised by the lame apology.  This apology is tantamount to a racist person saying, “I’m not racist, one of my neighbors are black”.  So what you have been bullied when you were a kid.  You weren’t bullied for being a gay kid.  That would be much more relevant. The point is as much anti-bullying as is the feeling of heterosexual superiority over homosexuals.  There are two issues, and he only really addresses the one.

I don’t think that he is anti-gay per se, but his tweets do imply a lack of respect for the gay community.  But barely.  There is no doubt that this is another witch hunt by GLAAD but Martin basically gave them a trail of bread crumbs to follow so they didn’t really have to hunt that hard.


When a person wears a crazy outfit or say or do something outlandish you say, “someone should smack the ish out of them”.  That is a very common statement.  Unfortunately it does imply bullying, and can be interpreted as promotion of bullying, there is no doubt about it.

When he says, “Ain’t no real brother’s going to H&M to buy some Beckham underwear” he could have easily been referring to black men just not feeling David Beckham enough to buy some tightie whities.

These statements were both borderline, and 90% of the population wouldn’t have thought twice about them.  In fact 99%.  However the 1% which is comprised of not just Gay people, but the ultra sensitive, witch hunting percent of the gay population, were bothered and unfortunately you have to consider them when you are a public figure and tweeting.

His apology should have simply stated “I apologize, I overused some popular terminology without thinking about the impacts of my statements.  It was irresponsible given my public position and my standing in the community.  I will be working with GLAAD to see how I can rectify the situation and prevent this from happening with not just myself but other high profile personalities.”


The witch hunt bothers me because Roland has worked hard to get where he is today, and it could all be ruined by a few thoughtless tweets, which weren’t really that bad.  On the flipside Martin should know better.  You are not tweeting to your buddies, you are tweeting to almost 100,000 people who follow you because you are a personality on CNN.  Just like facebook, before you post something on your wall – you think about whose going to read it.

On facebook I have my high school friends as well as colleagues I’ve worked with over the years and people I know from the community.  My high school friends are dropping the “N” word and posting NFSW stuff all the time.  I never engage in that because I have a responsibility to who I am today, and don’t need to be the funny guy that bad.  I don’t want to jeopardize my little career that I worked hard to achieve, and I don’t make 7 figures like Roland Martin does….or did. SMH.  Let this be a lesson to us all….and I know you might be angry, but calling him the “N” word doesn’t prove or improve anything.



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