ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – ESPN has announced that it will air a Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation commercial which it originally rejected because of religious connotations.

The 30-second ad has run on local television stations but the sports network said yesterday that it violates the station’s religious advocacy rules.

“As originally submitted, the spot did not meet our commercial advocacy standards,” the company said. “We have since been supplied with a different commercial which will air on the 14th.”

In a statement online this afternoon, the company changed course, saying it has reviewed the commercial and will air it Saturday.

“We have again reviewed the ads submitted for the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and have concluded that we will accept the original requested commercial. It will run in Saturday’s VCU at Northern Iowa basketball game on ESPNU. This decision is consistent with our practice of individual review of all ads under our commercial advocacy standards.”

The ad is for Cardinal Glennon’s Tree of Hope campaign and specifically mentions the birth of Jesus Christ and “God’s healing message.”

The originally decision by ESPN to not broadcast the commercial caused a stir among conservative commentators, including Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.

Foundation officials say the Tree of Hope effort has received thousands of dollars in donations since the O’Reilly broadcast.


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