The San Diego Padres have issued a somewhat scathing statement condemning an employee at their flagship radio station who made light of suicide in promoting his new show.
“We find the comments made last night by Entercom’s employee offensive, insensitive and completely unacceptable,” Padres executives Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler wrote in a statement. “Mental illness and suicide are not joking matters. Additionally, we’ve expressed our concerns to Entercom around the tone and direction of the station they have chosen to create.
The tweet in question came from Kevin Klein, a radio host set to begin a new show Thursday on 97.3 FM. Klein tweeted a photo of San Diego’s Coronado Bridge, along with big letters reading “JUMP*” and then smaller ones specifying, “*to a new morning show.”
How a local San Diego DJ is advertising his new show: with a pic of Coronado Bridge and an allusion to the tragic deaths that occur there. pic.twitter.com/mr8VfRGlB6
— Carrie O'Connell (@CarrieOh_77) March 27, 2018
More than a few Twitter users found the joke inappropriate, especially in light of a recent rash of suicides on that very bridge. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, 98 people have jumped off the bridge in the past six years, including 17 in 2017. The city has reportedly begun outlining prototypes to reduce such suicides.
When Klein faced backlash over the tweet, he did not immediately apologize, instead joking about the situation.
Here, BTW, is how the host reacted to the controversy and requests to delete his offensive tweet last night before the Padres said no team employee would appear on his radio station unless some action was taken. pic.twitter.com/HkQbPVXMGl
— Matthew Thoreau Hall (@SDuncovered) March 27, 2018
After declining to delete the tweet Monday night (and instead posting similar promos featuring other San Diego landmarks for which the JUMP reference made no sense), Klein eventually took it down before posting an apology on Tuesday.
“I know I’ve upset many people in America’s Finest City, and this is something I regret” Klein wrote. “The comment was reprehensible and inexcusable.”
— Kevin Klein LIVE (@KevinKleinLIVE) March 27, 2018
In their statement, the Padres demanded that Klein’s employer, Entercom, apologize to the people of San Diego.
Statement from Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler and General Partner Peter Seidler: pic.twitter.com/KQMRhi09aH
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) March 27, 2018
Back in January, the Padres were forced to distance themselves from yet another controversial Entercom host, Dan Sileo (who we haven’t written about in awhile, which must mean he’s settled down a bit), who had been accused at previous jobs of racism, sexism. and anti-Semitism.
Per the Union-Tribune, 97.3 radio hosts are not part of Padres pregame or postgame broadcasts, but do sometimes have team employees on their shows.