The Cleveland Cavaliers have much more to worry about than their May 8 NBA Finals game against the Chicago Bulls. Earlier this week, the Cavs — who play Game 3 Friday in Chicago — aired an ill-received attempt to drum up support from fans eager to see them face off against the Bulls.
During the Wednesday night playoff game, the team showed the promo to fans at the arena. In the spot, a male Cavaliers fan tried to recreate the "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" lift from Dirty Dancing with his girlfriend — until it's revealed she's a Bulls fan.
Lifting the Bulls T-shirt clad woman over their sofa, the man quickly tossed her to the ground for rooting for the opposing team. "Bulls fan? I didn't know you were a Bulls fan,” he said in the in-arena video.
Later, a voiceover encourages fans to get hyped for the big game: "When it's playoff basketball time, you have to be all in. Don't make the same mistake she made."
The Cleveland Cavaliers seemingly unaware of the domestic violence issue in pro sports lately. https://t.co/lcoF3OUjaM— Kurtis Billard (@KCBillard) May 7, 2015
Facing backlash, the team released a statement Thursday confirming that they never intended for the commercial to make light of domestic violence. "Domestic violence is a very serious matter and has no place in a parody video that plays in an entertainment venue,” the Associated Press statement read in part. “We sincerely apologize to those who have been affected by domestic violence for the obvious negative feelings caused by being exposed to this insensitive video."
Also this week, the team drew ire from fans after announcing plans to distribute 20,000 arm slings as a show of support for injured player Kevin Love. The promotion was eventually canceled.