Fox SportsNet Pulls Tyson Ad

NEW YORK–A new TV commercial featuring Mike Tyson has been pulled by Fox SportsNet, a representative for the cable network confirmed.

Lou D’Ermilio said the spot broke on Monday, Sept. 16, and was pulled by Thursday after the network began receiving numerous calls from the news media.

“We have not had a single call from a viewer or a complaint from an advertiser,” D’Ermilio said. “But management saw [the media interest] as an early signal that using Mike Tyson might be more provocative than anticipated.”

In the spot, created by the client’s New York agency Cliff Freeman and Partners for a show called “The Best Damn Sports Show Period,” Tyson is depicted as a babysitter. He is shown cradling the infant of one of the show’s hosts. The premise is that professional athletes will do anything to be guests on the show. Questions from the media centered on the decision to use Tyson, a convicted rapist, in a TV commercial.

D’Ermilio said the other four spots in the campaign that feature athletes such as Jerry Stackhouse, Derek Fisher, Keyshawn Johnson and Brian Jordan will continue to run.

Cliff Freeman has created numerous award-winning campaigns for the network. The agency won the 2001 Grand Prix award in Cannes for a spot depicting a foreign sporting event in which a cliff diver dives into a dusty road instead of water as spectators applaud.

Another Fox SportsNet spot called “Nail Gun,” which promotes playoff baseball, is currently up for an Emmy award.

“We’ve done great things with Cliff Freeman,” D’Ermilio said. “And we expect that relationship to continue.”