Following outreach from GLAAD, ESPN980 in Washington D.C. announced today that it has suspended Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin, hosts of the "Sports Reporters" show, over a segment they ran last week in which the pair made fun of transgender college basketball player Gabrielle Ludwig.
In a statement this afternoon, the station said:
We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a transsexual person on their program last Thursday. Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company. Due to the nature of this conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980's Sports Reporters program.
This suspension sends a strong message that the station takes this matter very seriously, coming after a half-hearted apology was offered by Czaban yesterday.
Here is the segment that led to the suspension, via OutSports:
We have been working with Gabby and Mission College, and she is nothing short of extraordinary, certainly undeserving of the ridicule she received last week. We are very hopeful that Czaban and Pollin will return to the air with a greater understanding of the impact that their words can have, the power their platform provides, and the breadth of their listenership - which they now know includes many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and allies.
GLAAD has extended an offer to sit down with Czaban and Pollin and leaders from the transgender community to talk about the issues that affect transgender Americans, particularly those who are involved in athletics. It is important that the lesson they take away from this isn't simply "don't make fun of transgender people or you'll get suspended." LGBT equality and inclusion in sports will never improve unless we are able to use these moments to educate each other and see each other as human beings.