ESPN said it would suspend Keith Olbermann for the rest of the week in light of snarky remarks the popular broadcaster made on Twitter about a Pennsylvania State University fundraiser and some of the students and other people who were supporting it.
Olbermann, who has railed against the school in the past on his self-titled ESPN2 program, got into an exchange with several people on Twitter who were trying to alert him to an annual fundraiser the school was holding to fight pediatric cancer. In one tweet, he said students who attended the school were “pitiful.” As others responded, he began to engage with a number of people on the social-media outlet.
“We are aware of the exchange Keith Olbermann had on Twitter last night regarding Penn State. It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the views of ESPN,” the Walt Disney-owned network said in a statement. “We have discussed it with Keith, who recognizes he was wrong. ESPN and Keith have agreed that he will not host his show for the remainder of this week and will return on Monday.”
Olbermann, never known to shy away from engaging detractors with debate, has faced suspension in the past. In 2010, MSNBC suspended him for making donations to political candidates without getting approval from superiors, a violation of company policy at the time.
Olbermann tweeted an apology for his remarks on Tuesday, saying he was “stupid and childish.”
ESPN has been making increasing use of suspension to curb offensive behaviors by its on-air team. Last year, ESPN suspended Grantland editor in chief Bill Simmons after he called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “liar” on a podcast. In November, ESPN suspended baseball writer Keith Law from using Twitter after he got into a debate about evolution on the outlet. And in July of last year, ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for a week after he made some controversial comments in the wake of the domestic-abuse allegations leveled at Ray Rice, then a player for the Baltimore Ravens.