Warriors PR exec fired for racially insensitive e-mail

Updated: February 1, 2006, 9:16 PM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The public relations manager for the Golden State Warriors was fired Wednesday for inadvertently sending out a racially insensitive e-mail titled "Ghetto Prom" to the team's entire media distribution list.

Eric Govan, the No. 3 person on the Warriors' media relations staff, sent the e-mail featuring 17 photos, many depicting scantily clad black people in formal attire and commentary on the outfits. The e-mail went to dozens of newspaper reporters, columnists and sports editors as well as television and radio stations.

"It came to my attention moments ago that one of our employees had inadvertently sent out an e-mail that was in extreme poor taste and completely unprofessional," team president Robert Rowell said in a statement. "I can assure you that the contents of this e-mail -- or any unsaid presumptions -- do not represent the values and beliefs of the Golden State Warriors organization. The employee responsible for sending this e-mail has been dealt with in an appropriate manner."

Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder confirmed that Govan is no longer employed by the club.

A call to Govan was not immediately returned Wednesday evening, though he quickly sent out a follow-up apology e-mail.

"You just received a previous forwarded e-mail titled 'Ghetto Prom' that was sent accidentally," Govan wrote. "I assure you that this is totally out of character for myself and want to apologize to anyone who might be offended. My sincere apologies. This won't happen again and shouldn't have happened this time."

This is the second public relations scandal by a professional team in the Bay Area in the last year.

Former San Francisco 49ers public relations director Kirk Reynolds was fired last June after producing a controversial in-house video meant to prepare players for dealing with the media. But the 15-minute film leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle featured racist jokes, lesbian soft porn and topless blondes -- and even a scene of Reynolds impersonating San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom in the mayor's office.

Reynolds called it a "terrible mistake" and said the video was never meant for public consumption.

It was shown to players during the team's 2004 training camp in Santa Clara, where it was part of a diversity workshop.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press