TSN responded publicly on Wednesday to racist messages targeted at SportsCentre hosts Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim, strongly supporting both on-air personalities along with the network's long-standing commitment to having the best talent on its multiple platforms.
"In this day and age, it's unfortunate we continue to witness examples of ignorance and intolerance on social media," said Stewart Johnston, President of TSN. "Some, not all, of the comments posted on Twitter about Nabil and Gurdeep, spoke to the worst of social media. It's noteworthy and gratifying, however, that there was significant and rapid pushback on Twitter. Nabil and Gurdeep are two accomplished broadcasters and our viewers can expect to see lots more of them on TSN."
There was considerable backlash on Twitter as numerous racist tweets appeared after Gurdeep and Nabil hosted the late night edition of SportsCentre together on Tuesday night.
Nabil has been a mainstay on SportsCentre as anchor and reporter since December of 2011 after covering a number of major sporting events for the CBC including the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
"With the wonders of Twitter you can re-tweet and things just go viral," he said. "But I should mention this and this is really important ... there were a lot of positive messages and I've had an overflow - and I'm sure Gurdeep does too - of positive messages on Twitter and I've been getting them all day."
Gurdeep, a reporter and anchor for both TSN SportsCentre and Toronto's CP24 news channel, began his career in production positions with TSN, The Score and The Hockey News. In 2009, he was named "Favourite TV Personality" at the Masala! Mehndi! Masti's People's Choice Awards. He was also named to the National Post's Worthy 30 list in 2012.
"The way it sort of changed throughout the day was sort of switching over from negative to positive," he said. "And in a way Twitter polices itself, and a lot of people took it upon themselves to jump on the folks who said something negative or racist and correct it that way. There were certainly a lot of good messages and support out there."
SportsCentre, the top sports news show in Canada, has been an integral part of TSN's programming since the network first launched in 1984.