POORLY TIMED AD
The ad by itself wouldn't have raised eyebrows: a monkey on gymnastics rings, a spot intended to introduce an upcoming NBC comedy called "Animal Practice."
But one of the times it was aired -- right after a Bob Costas commentary on Gabby Douglas' gold medal inspiring other African-American girls to become gymnasts -- pushed NBC to come forward and say the ad was poorly timed and not meant to offend.
The gymnastics-themed commercial was specifically timed to run late Thursday night following the women's gold medal competition. NBC said it was scheduled to run before the network knew about Costas' commentary.
"Much of America has fallen in love with Gabby Douglas," Costas said. "Also safe to say that there are some young African-American girls out there who tonight are saying to themselves, 'Hey, I'd like to try that, too."
Then NBC switched to the commercial with the small, widely grinning monkey on the rings. Blacks in the past have been disparagingly referred to as monkeys to the point where it is considered a common slur.
"Gabby Douglas' gold medal performance last night was an historic and inspiring achievement," NBC Universal spokeswoman Liz Fischer said. "The spot promoting 'Animal Practice,' which has run three times previously, is one in a series with an Olympic theme, which have been scheduled for maximum exposure. Certainly no offense was intended."
- David Bauder -- Twitter http://twitter.com/dbauder
EDITOR'S NOTE -- "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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