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ESPN Stops Airing Tenn. Commericial

August 28, 2002

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ ESPN has stopped a college football commercial that angered some University of Tennessee fans who thought the spot depicted them as hillbillies.

The commercial showed Lee Corso, one of the College GameDay analysts, waiting for an elevator.

The doors open, and the elevator is filled with orange-clad Volunteers fans. A pig runs out, and an overweight woman holding another pig and wearing a shower cap and robe yells, ``Come here, Rocky Top!″ _ the team’s fight song.

The spot also poked fun of fan fanaticism, showing an elderly man hooked up to an IV bottle near a sign mentioning Tennessee alumni.

The Tennessee football office said it was swamped with calls over the past few days from fans upset about the commercial.

ESPN spokesman Mike Humes said Tuesday the commercial will no longer be shown.

``This spot was one of many we created for the tongue-and-cheek style College GameDay campaign,″ Humes told The Tennessean newspaper of Nashville. ``We’ve traditionally had the most fun at our own expense in our promotional spots. It is never our intention to offend anyone, and we are sorry if we did in this case.″

Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer had a tape of the commercial on his desk Monday, but said he had yet to see it.

``I’ve got a football game to get ready for, but I’ve heard it’s in poor taste,″ he said.

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