San Diego

Padres: Radio Station Owes San Diego an Apology

The Mayor of Coronado and a retired city fire captain spoke out against a controversial tweet sent by a local radio host that has caused concerns about its appearance to promote suicide.

The Mayor of Coronado, Richard Bailey, and retired fire captain Wayne Strickland, who's worked tirelessly to make suicide barriers along the bridge a reality, echoed the same disdain for the comments as San Diego Padres team officials did earlier Tuesday afternoon.

Their words are in response to a social media promotional campaign that included an image of the Coronado Bridge with the word "Jump*" above it and in smaller print below the phrase "*to a new morning show." 

"It's a promotional stunt," Bailey said. "Unfortunately it came at the expense of people that are suffering from or know people that are suffering from mental illness, and of course that's not something to make fun of."

Bailey made an image of his own and has shared it across his social media platforms. In his version, the words "Save*" and "*Lives by installing suicide deterrents" are split by the picturesque bridge.

"The beautiful thing about our country is everyone has their First Amendment right," Bailey added. "Some people choose to exercise it in a way that mocks others to benefit themselves. I'm confident that both the listeners and the sponsors of that show will go ahead and exercise their rights accordingly."

Strickland has been a strong proponent of safety netting along the bridge since he retired from the Coronado Fire Department. He, like a lot of Coronado residents, has been affected personally by the more than 400 people who have jumped from the bridge to their death.

Needless to say, he wasn't a fan of the radio host's promotional tactic.

"Sometimes people do stupid stuff," Strickland said. "I don't know what's going to happen going forward, but [the host] really screwed up."

The controversial tweet was sent out Monday night, and by Tuesday morning Padres team executives had released a statement.

"Mental illness and suicide are not joking matters," Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler and General Partner Peter Seidler said in a news release Tuesday. 

"We find the comments made last night by Entercom's employee offensive, insensitive and completely unacceptable," the team's officials said.

The promotion is for KEGY, one of the Entercom radio stations in San Diego. It's the same station that will carry Padres radio broadcasts for the 2018 season. 

“I find the Padres' statement a little odd, in that they claim that they didn’t know that this was the direction these folks were gonna go," Dean Nelson, director of the journalism program at PLNU, told NBC 7. "How could you not know that if you’re going into a business agreement with them?”

He added that organizations like the Padres are usually very careful about their branding and "who they put out there as their public face ... They are so careful about their public persona in every other way." 

The social media posts were made by an employee of Entercom and tagged members of the local media.

After the statement was issued by the team, the original tweet was no longer available on Twitter.

"We believe Entercom owes San Diego an apology," the Padres' statement continued. "Even though we do not have ultimate control over Entercom's programming beyond our game broadcasts, we apologize for the behavior of the station." 

Read the Padres' full statement here.

Just before 1 p.m., the Entercom employee involved in the promotional social media post apologized via Twitter.

He called the post "distasteful and insensitive." 

Nelson isn't sure the stunt is bad for the Padres. 

“If the ultimate outcome of this is the Padres get more attention, and the show gets more attention, then it’s a win for them," he said. 

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