A pair of ESPN radio hosts -- Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin for ESPN 980 -- were suspended after making derogatory comments about Gabrille Ludwig, a transgender women's college basketball player.
Ludwig made headlines last week when the 50-year-old, born Robert Ludwig in Freemont, Calif., made a return to Mission College as a post-op transsexual,32 years after her first bout in the league.
News of Ludwig's return sparked Washington, D.C.-based hosts Czaban and Pollin to go on a rant about the transsexual basketball player, calling Ludwig a "he/she" and decided "it" would be a better pronoun for the 50-year-old whom they believe looks like a "caveman."
Czaban even went as far to say transgender athletes should not be allowed to compete in sports during the Thursday talk show.
”Whatever you’ve got to do to scratch that inner itch and quell those inner demons, that’s fine," he said. "But don’t go playing sports then. And don’t go playing sports saying, ‘but I’ve go the rights of everyone else.' "
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The rant prompted LGBT sports news outlet Outsports to call for a suspension of the hosts, which ESPN ultimately granted.
"There is simply no legitimate reaction the station could possibly have but to suspend everyone involved," Outsports wrote. "These are disgusting comments of the highest order, meant to demean another human being who has broken no rules and no laws. These men are a disgrace to their profession, and they should be suspended without pay."
Parent company ESPN issued a statement through Outsports, lambasting the station and the hosts' commentary.
"The two are not employees of ESPN and made the comments on an affiliated radio station that controls its own local content. The offensive commentary goes completely against ESPN’s company culture and values. We have expressed our significant dissatisfaction to the station’s management.”
The hosts issued an apology on Monday but that did not stop ESPN 980 from suspending both Czaban and Pollin.
"We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a tanssexual person on their program last Thursday," ESPN 980 said in a statement. "Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company. Due to the nature of their conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980′s Sports Reporter program."