US sports broadcasting giant ESPN was forced to issue an apology on Sunday after being criticized for playing the Confederate Civil War anthem in a graphic during an NFL playoff game.
The incident occurred during the live broadcast of the Indianapolis Colts versus Houston Texans playoff game on Saturday afternoon, when ESPN used a graphic showing Colts quarterback Andrew Luck dressed as a Union general with Confederate and Union soldiers protecting him.
The issue drew criticism over the the choice of the Confederate anthem "Dixie" as music for the graphic, which some have slammed as having connections to racism and slavery from a bygone time in American history.
It's believed the use of Luck mocked up in Confederate style was a reference to the parody Twitter account @CaptAndrewLuck, whose tweets consist of spoof letters home to his mother from the battlefield, making fun of Luck's idiosyncrasies.
Dearest mother —
I have received your care package of cured raccoon knuckles and the fresh bottle of Squirrel Oil. It has been decided the unit shall battle on Saturday, perhaps giving us the element of surprise. We have enlisted an ox to help strategize. Determined.
— Capt. Andrew Luck (@CaptAndrewLuck) January 2, 2019
ESPN apologized for the use of the song, telling US outlet Sporting News that the use of the track was an unplanned one.
"It was a mistake to use this song. We regret having done so and we apologize," said ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz in a statement.
And an ESPN source gave a little more detail, explaining: "'Dixie' was not part of the graphic when the piece was initially produced and approved."
The source also said the issue had been addressed with the production staffer involved, but stopped short of giving details.
The graphic has also been removed from ESPN's Twitter account.