ESPN’s Page 2 writer Jemele Hill has been suspended from her post after referencing Adolf Hitler in an article about the NBA champion Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons.
In a recent editorial describing why she couldn’t root for the Celtics, Hill—a lifelong Pistons fan—wrote: “Rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim. It’s like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan.
“Deserving or not, I still hate the Celtics.”
Her Hitler remark received a flurry of angry comments from site readers and that portion of the editorial was taken out shortly after the column was published.
But the damage had been done.
Hill’s comments have been compared to shock jock Don Imus’ now infamous “nappy headed ho” remark about the women’s basketball team at Rutgers. Others, have called for the columnist to be fired.
Even her peers in the media have taken issue with the remark. Joe Fitzgerald of The Boston Herald condemned the remark in a column. “There is nothing witty about using Hitler as a punch line,” he wrote, before mentioning a Holocaust survivor he knew to drive home his point. “The Celtics remind Jemele Hill of Hitler? Please. Eric, who died four years ago, understood that the time would come when supposedly bright people like her would be flippantly indifferent to the evils he experienced, if not totally ignorant of them.”
Hill apologized for the remarks in a recent statement released by ESPN.
“I deeply regret the comment I made in a column Saturday. In expressing my passion for the NBA and my hometown of Detroit I showed very poor judgment in the words that I used. I pride myself on an understanding of, and appreciation for, diversity — and there is no excuse for the appalling lack of sensitivity in my comments. It in no way reflects the person I am.
“I apologize to all of my readers and I thank them for holding me accountable. This has been an important lesson for me and illustrates that, like many people, I still have a lot of growing and learning to do.”
For more on Jemele Hill, visit her Web page