Rancor over ESPN anchor’s comments dies down

ESPN anchorwoman Dana Jacobson
ESPN anchorwoman Dana Jacobson


Controversy over anchorwoman Dana Jacobson’s derogatory remarks about Jesus and Notre Dame University is beginning to die down as ESPN assures that it was an isolated incident.

The errant remarks by ESPN anchorwoman Dana Jacobson came when she was roasting colleague Mike Golic of the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, "...Jacobson made an absolute fool of herself, swilling vodka from a Belvedere bottle, mumbling along and cursing like a sailor as Mike & Mike rested their heads in their hands in embarrassment."

Jacobson, an alumna of Notre Dame football rival University of Michigan, used numerous expletives.  “F*** Notre Dame” she is reported to have said.  Some reports claim that she used the expletive in front of “Jesus” and “Touchdown Jesus,” a large mosaic of Christ on the Notre Dame campus whose outstretched arms resemble a football referee’s touchdown signal.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights responded to the reports.  “We know that Jacobson said ‘F*** Notre Dame’ at the January 11 celebrity roast for radio personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. We also know that ESPN has suspended her for a week as a result. What we don’t know is whether, as reported on some websites, she also said ‘F*** Jesus’ at the event. If she did, then that changes everything.”

“It is one thing to use an obscenity to rip a Catholic university, quite another to use the vilest of terms about Jesus,” Donohue said.  He called on ESPN to make public the video of the event.

ESPN suspended Jacobson for a week because of the comments.  Meanwhile, the Christian Defense Coalition planned a demonstration and prayer vigil outside of ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut headquarters for January 25.  Some critics have called for Jacobson to be fired.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Jacobson issued an apology in a Tuesday statement.  "I am sorry. My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive. I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words,” she said.  "My actions at the roast were inappropriate and in no way represent who I am. I won't make excuses for my behavior, but I do hope I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment."

The University of Notre Dame also reacted to Jacobson’s comments pertaining to the school. “While we in no way condone Ms. Jacobson’s comments, we’re aware of the circumstances in which they occurred,” Notre Dame spokesperson Dennis Brown said to the South Bend Tribune, continuing, “and, in the interest of forgiveness, trust that she and ESPN have addressed the matter in an appropriate way.”

In the latest development, Bill Donahue has expressed his satisfaction that ESPN has handled the situation adequately. “On January 22, I said in a news release that ‘there is no evidence that ESPN is taking this matter seriously.’ I am happy to say that after speaking to two ESPN officials today, and having learned more about exactly what happened, that they are in fact taking this matter seriously. Indeed, I am convinced that what occurred at the roast will not happen again.”

“To be sure, Jacobson’s remarks were patently offensive; no one involved in this incident, including her, is maintaining otherwise. But it is also true that there is no evidence that what we are dealing with is a bigot—lots of people who have made bigoted comments are not inveterate bigots. No, what we are dealing with is a person who went off the rails while drunk at a raucous event.”

“The ESPN officials whom I spoke to answered the questions I had to my satisfaction. Therefore, as far as the Catholic League is concerned, this matter is over.”

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