Padres Upset Over 'Offensive' Tweet By Talk Show Host
The San Diego Padres demanded an apology from media company Entercom and said they are considering their options in dealing with their new flagship radio station after a talk show host tweeted a promo that the team said was "offensive, insensitive and completely unacceptable."
Entercom and talk show host Kevin Klein both issued apologies later Tuesday, and the company said Klein's show is still scheduled to begin on Thursday, opening day for the Padres.
Klein tweeted a picture Monday of the Coronado Bridge with the words "JUMP(asterisk) . (asterisk)to a new morning show."
The tweet sparked outrage from many, including some who said they knew people who had jumped to their deaths from the bridge that spans San Diego Bay. More than 400 people have jumped from the Coronado Bridge since it opened in 1969.
"Mental illness and suicide are not joking matters," Padres owners Peter Seidler and Ron Fowler said in a statement. "Additionally, we've expressed our concerns to Entercom around the tone and direction of the station they have chosen to create."
The Padres' owners said the agreement with Entercom to switch from a rock-oriented FM station to 97.3 The Machine was done to expand pregame and postgame coverage, and it was done before the team "knew the format, the tone or the talent lineup." The station bills itself as having "a unique mix of compelling personalities, comedy, sports and curated classic rock music."
"We believe Entercom owes San Diego an apology," Seidler and Fowler said in their statement. "And, even though we do not have ultimate control over Entercom's programming beyond our game broadcasts, we apologize for the behavior of the station."
Mike Dee, the president of sports for Entercom, deferred to Entercom's corporate office. Dee was fired as Padres president in October 2016 for reasons neither side has addressed publicly. Earlier that year, the Padres announced a deal to move their broadcasts from an AM station to an Entercom FM station.
In a statement, Entercom said it does not condone Klein's comments, "which were insensitive and Kevin has apologized. On behalf of The Machine, we also sincerely apologize to our listeners and the entire city of San Diego. We understand that these comments were distasteful and hit at the core of an important issue that affects many people in our city."
In a tweet, Klein apologized to San Diego and listeners "for a distasteful and insensitive social media post. I know I've upset many people in America's Finest City, and this is something I regret. The comment was reprehensible and inexcusable. I've failed at making a good first impression, but I hope that you will give me another chance to provide entertainment and good natured laughs when I go on air on Thursday morning."
When a San Diego sports fan responded to Klein's original tweet by saying that it wasn't funny and calling him a "clown," Klein responded: "It was actually only directed at you. Glad you saw it. See you Thursday."
Klein later tweeted the same picture of the Coronado Bridge alongside pictures of a San Diego beach and Torrey Pines Golf Course, with the same text, "JUMP(asterisk) ... (asterisk)to a new morning show." He later deleted the tweets.
Klein's tweet came days after state officials released a report outlining several options to try to keep people from jumping from the Coronado Bridge.
Entercom corporate spokeswoman Esther-Mireya Tejeda said Klein's show will still begin as scheduled on Thursday.
Dee said in a text that all programming decisions are local. A local Entercom executive didn't return a call and email seeking comment.
The Padres are considering all options with Entercom, said Erik Greupner, who was promoted from general counsel to COO shortly after Dee was fired. Greupner didn't offer specifics, referring to the statement by Seidler and Fowler.