Cleveland Cavaliers apologize for promo featuring domestic violence

Cavaliers apologize for running domestic-violence-themed promo during Game 2 of playoff series with Bulls

An in-game promo video during the Cavaliers game last night may have crossed the line when attempting to inspire Cleveland fans with domestic violence.

The video, which begins innocently/cringe-inducingly enough with a spoof on the Patrick Swayze classic "Dirty Dancing," goes awry when the man, while catching the woman for the signature lift from the film, realizes she's wearing a Bulls shirt and throws her to the ground.

"Bulls fan? I didn't know you were a Bulls fan," he says. "I can't believe she's a Bulls fan."

From there, a Cavaliers logo is imposed over the woman, who feigns injury, with the team's slogan "All in."

As if that weren't horrifying enough, the narrator comes in with another message.

"When it's playoff basketball time you have to be 'ALL IN,' so don't make the same mistake she made."

Man: "I thought you were 'ALL IN?' "

Woman: "Well, I'm 'ALL IN' now. Let's just watch the game."

Man: "Go Cavs."

The Cavaliers released a statement Thursday apologizing for the content of the video.

"During a timeout at last night's Cavaliers vs. Bulls playoff game at The Q in Cleveland, we ran a 1-minute in-arena video that was intended to be a humorous spoof on a popular commercial centered on a song and dance from the classic movie 'Dirty Dancing.,'" the team said. "While the video was not intended to be offensive, it was a mistake to include content that made light of domestic violence.

"Domestic violence is a very serious matter and has no place in a parody video that plays in an entertainment venue. We sincerely apologize to those who have been affected by domestic violence for the obvious negative feelings caused by being exposed to this insensitive video."

The video, despite its intentions, was met with a strong reaction from the women's advocacy group UltraViolet.

"The Cleveland Cavaliers should be ashamed of themselves," the group said in a statement condeming the video. "If the last year has taught us anything, it's that domestic violence is a very serious issue in America—three women die each and every day as a result of domestic abuse. With a national epidemic of violence against women, we simply cannot afford to have the NBA condone this kind of violence."

Last week, the Houston Rockets fired their social media manager after a tweet using emojiis depicted a horse's head and a gun with the text, "Shhhhh. Just close your eyes it will all be over soon."

Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


11:23 a.m.: Adds statemtn from Cleveland Cavaliers.

10:54 a.m.: Adds statement from UltraViolet group.

This story was originally published at 8:19 a.m.