CNN’s Roland Martin offered what he called “final thoughts” last night on the uproar over his controversial tweets during the Super Bowl. Both GLAAD and National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) have said Martin promoted violence against gays.
On Sunday Martin tweeted: “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” and “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”
Martin says now that his comments were about soccer, not gay men, and that they were deliberately over-the-top jokes. Though, it wasn’t Martin’s first turn with controversy over his comments about LGBT people.
“Even if he meant it in a jovial manner, Roland Martin’s words carry a real impact on the everyday lives of Black LGBT people, especially our youth. Given the number of rash murders, attacks and violent acts involving LGBT people of color, we cannot let statements such as this go unchecked. Silence is a form of acceptance and only perpetuates the problem,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director of the NBJC, the nation’s largest black LGBT civil rights organization.
On Monday night Martin took to his blog and said he was sorry that his comments were misconstrued. In a post titled “Final Thoughts On Super Bowl-Twitter Controversy,” Martin wrote:
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.
Colorlines.com editor Kai Wright, of #teamproudtowearpink, said Martin still misses the point. “Whether Roland Martin was talking about soccer is entirely beside the point. He was shaming and advocating violence against people who don’t fit his outdated idea of manhood, and it wasn’t funny. It’s not been funny previously, either. It’s precisely the kind of casual harassment that people who refuse to live under Martin’s gender rules face every day. Martin says he’s sorry that I misunderstood. Whatever. I’m sorry he still won’t explore why he feels it so comical that I wear pink.”