By Zenitha Prince, Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper –
Tom Joyner, host of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” this week administered a public spanking to Roland Martin, one of the show’s senior analysts, over inflammatory statements Martin tweeted during the Super Bowl.
In a public letter, Joyner urged Martin to “make things right” by issuing a “sincere” apology to GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and suggested Martin could suffer some repercussions if he didn’t.
“As head of the family, I’ve sat back as long as I could, hoping I wouldn’t have to say anything. But now the time has come,” Joyner wrote. “…When people are offended by something we say or do, it doesn’t matter what our intentions are. The job of the offender is simply to apologize and learn a lesson about what to say or do going forward.”
GLAAD took issue with statements Martin made on his Twitter page that urged his followers to “smack the ish” out of any guys that got excited about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad. He also suggested that a New England Patriots fan that was bedecked in a pink suit has earned a visit from #teamwhipdatass. The gay rights group demanded that CNN fire Martin, one of their analysts. And, after some deliberation, the network decided to suspend Martin for an indefinite period.
After the public outcry, Martin issued an apology to the gay community and said he would meet with GLAAD. Joyner, however, seemed to think Martin’s apology was lacking. He suggested the analyst’s actions, “or lack thereof,” had begun to “detract” from the company’s goal, which is to “entertain and empower Black people.”
“Your mission is greater than your principal. It’s no longer about you. Now it’s grown into something bigger than you are, but only you can make it right,” Joyner wrote. “We’ve gone through this with another family member who refused to turn around. I sure would hate to see pride silence another important voice.?“Make it right, Roland, so we can move forward.”
On Twitter, journalist Morris “Mo’Kelly” O’Kelly suggested that Joyner was having “another Tavis Smiley moment,” adding “let the beef begin!” Joyner had publically blasted Smiley, a well-known television and radio personality and TJMS alum, over Smiley’s criticism of President Obama and Smiley left the program.
Political analyst Raynard Jackson last week condemned the Black leadership’s lack of support for Martin, an outspoken and well-loved media personality and rare Black face in mainstream news. In a column published Feb. 13, Jackson lambasted Joyner for his public letter, saying he couldn’t allow Martin to be “thrown under the bus alone.”
“Tom, in your letter, you said you were ‘head of the family.’ So, as head of the family, have you had a direct conversation with Roland since this issue surfaced?” Jackson questioned. “Why would you put out your statement on Friday, when Roland had already apologized and agreed to meet with GLAAD? What was the purpose of the letter after 5 days of silence? Did it really take you that long to think of a statement, or did GLAAD force your hand like the rest of the liberal Black community?”
Though Martin has not issued a comment on Joyner’s letter, on Feb. 13 he retweeted a post by Bishop T.D. Jakes that hinted at his feelings.
“Never use a public forum to address an issue with or about someone with whom you have private access #stopgrandstanding” #stopgrandstanding,” the post read, and Martin responded, “AMEN.”
Meanwhile, other Black leaders remain largely silent on the issue. NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock spoke briefly to Eurweb.com on the matter, reiterating the importance of Martin’s voice in the mainstream media and expressing the wish that Martin, CNN and GLAAD could resolve their differences.