ESPN Forced to Apologize After Viewers Spot Big Problem with Statue of Liberty Footage During NBA Playoff Game
One of the NBA’s more understated rivalries of the late- 1990s involved Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks going to battle against Alonzo Mourning and the Miami Heat.
ESPN and ABC might think it’s still the 1990s — at least based on a cringe-worthy mistake the network made in an innocuous video cut on Sunday.
It’s 2023, a full 24 years after the last time Ewing and Mourning faced off in the playoffs. Despite that fact, ESPN and ABC used a peculiar bit of footage in promotional material during halftime of a basketball game taking place this year.
See if you notice it:
This did in fact air on ABC. https://t.co/hsDSYXQUg6 pic.twitter.com/mnOFk8hvrd
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) April 30, 2023
The above clip is one of those stock transitions you see when a broadcast network wants to highlight the sights and sites the local home team market has to offer.
In this case, the network wanted to highlight New York City, as the second round playoff series began in the Big Apple.
Much to ESPN’s embarrassment, if you look at the bottom of the screen, you can clearly see that the network was highlighting a site and sight that New York no longer offers — because it can’t.
In an attempt to highlight the Statue of Liberty, ESPN and ABC accidentally included very visible footage of the World Trade Center towers that were taken down in the horrific 9/11 attacks.
The reactions on social media were as swift as they were biting.
“Did you fire every editing room person?” one bewildered Twitter user asked ESPN.
Rolling with 22 year old photos of the Twin Towers at halftime. Seriously @espn @ABC ? Did you fire every editing room person? #espn #nba #nyc https://t.co/ER9wDZh1He
— Jeff Adell (@seeking6) April 30, 2023
Another Twitter user opined that ESPN’s recent financial woes (the ones that are giving parent company Disney thoughts about selling off ESPN) played a role in the blunder.
I think the Twin Towers gaff shows that Disney and ESPN cut corners because the budgets are a problem.
At some point the media deals are not worth that value. Only the NFL is.
— Joshua Andersen (@AndersenPodcast) May 1, 2023
“I think the Twin Towers gaff shows that Disney and ESPN cut corners because the budgets are a problem,” the Twitter user posted.
Whatever the reason or explanation for the mistake was, ESPN swiftly tried to squash this as little more than an honest mistake.
In a statement made to several outlets, including the New York Post, an ESPN representative gave a statement largely dismissing the error.
“We mistakenly used an old stock image and we apologize,” the representative said via statement.
As if that mistake and imagery wasn’t enough to antagonize New York fans, the Knicks also lost to the Heat in Game 1 on Sunday, despite Miami star Jimmy Butler largely being rendered ineffective down the stretch due to a badly sprained ankle.
Game 2, which will also be in New York (sans the World Trade Center towers), will take place Tuesday evening. The series will then shift to Miami for Games 3 and 4.
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