ESPN Suspends Anchor for Profaning Jesus

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CBNNews.com - Prominent Christian groups are dissatisfied with the disciplinary action ESPN took against anchorwoman Dana Jacobson for cursing the name of Jesus while addressing the crowd at a January 11 event paying tribute to ESPN Radio personalities in Atlantic City, N.J.

Her penalty? Even though ESPN would not confirm the report, Jacobson was issued a one-week suspension, according to USA Today.

Some consider this a slap on the wrist for a serious offense, as many believe it would have been treated more severely had it targeted a race or other religion.

In protest of Jacobson's words and the sports network's lack of action, a public demonstration and prayer vigil will be held Friday, January 25, outside ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

Josh Drulewitz, spokesman for the sports television network, issued a statement on her outburst.

"Her actions and comments were inappropriate and we've dealt with it," Drulewitz said.

Jacobson was reportedly intoxicated while speaking at the event, where she used the "F" word to curse Notre Dame, a popular painting of Jesus at the school and the name of the Lord Himself.

Notre Dame's library features a popular mural of Jesus raising His arms, known as "Touchdown Jesus."

Held Accountable?

After calling ESPN to respond to Jacobson's verbal attack on Tuesday, Catholic League president Bill Donohue said he received an e-mail with an unacceptable reply from the anchorwoman.

"I am very sorry. My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive," Jacobson's statement read. "I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words. I also deeply regret the embarrassment I have caused ESPN and Mike and Mike. My actions at the roast were inappropriate and in no way represent who I really am. I have personally apologized to many of the people involved. I won't make excuses for my behavior but do hope that I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment."

Donohue was disappointed by the statements and ESPN's handling of the matter.

"First, there is no evidence that ESPN is taking the matter seriously," Donohue said. "Are we to believe that her hate speech is of no consequence?"

Donohue contends that because Jacobson was representing ESPN at a public event during her affront, she should be held accountable.

He also pointed out that CBS immediately fired late sports commentator Jimmy "The Greek," despite his apology for making racist remarks about blacks during a luncheon interview in 1988.

"It is also important to note that being drunk didn't help Mel Gibson's case when he made bigoted remarks about Jews," continued Donohue.

But Donohue's biggest dilemma had to do with what wasn't said.

"By far, the most offensive thing she said, 'F--- Jesus' isn't even addressed!" exclaimed Donohue. "It is obvious, then, that neither Jacobson nor ESPN is dealing with this matter in a professional way."

However, ESPN did issue this statement shortly after the tirade.

"Ms. Jacobson's inappropriate comments were delivered in the context of Notre Dame football and its Touchdown Jesus icon. They were wrong and inexcusable and she was suspended from her duties," the statement read, failing to mention the dates or duration of Jacobson's suspension. "Her uncharacteristic behavior was not aimed at a particular religious faith. They took place at an adult-only roast that was not aired on any ESPN outlet."

He is still waiting for the issue to be properly addressed.

"To put this issue behind them, ESPN must deal with this issue quickly, publicly and fairly - something it has yet to do," Donohue added. "After all, most Christians are yet unaware of this event, but once they learn of it, they are sure to demand accountability."

A Call to Fire

Jacobson's words also got the Christian Defense Coalition's attention.

"Hate speech and religious intolerance should have no place in American society," said CDC director Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney. "When we see these things raise their ugly head, it is critical that people of good will unite together and prayerfully stand against such bigotry and prejudice."

Mahoney is in agreement with Donohue that Jacobson be held more accountable for her statements.

"By publicly saying, 'F--- Jesus,' while representing ESPN, Dana Jacobson has crossed a very well-defined line," Mahoney asserted. "Her comments are so outrageous and inflammatory that the only proper response for ESPN is to immediately release her. A week suspension is simply not enough and sends a message that ESPN tolerates this kind of behavior and speech."

Mahoney believes that Christianity has not been given the same protection as other religions or races.

"Imagine the outrage if Ms. Jacobson said, 'F--- Mohammed,' 'F--- Jews,' or 'F--- African Americans.' Mahoney posited. "Although the faith community can forgive and extend mercy to Ms. Jacobson, she still must assume full responsibility and accept the consequences for her hate-filled rhetoric."

A mass petition protesting comedian Kathy Griffin's similarly offensive remarks at the Emmy Awards was launched last September.

Sources: World Net Daily, Christian Newswire, USA Today, CBN News

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