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Cavaliers' Playoff Video Is Called 'Tone-Deaf,' 'Awful'

A promotional video shown at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland during the Cavaliers vs. Bulls playoff game on Wednesday is being called "tone-deaf" and "awful."

The video is supposed to be a spoof of a United HealthCare ad. Instead it appears to mock an episode of domestic violence.

Here's the United ad:

Here's the Cavs' video:

SBNation wraps up the whole episode like this:

"Instead of a goofy accident, they made the action a guy overhand-spiking his girlfriend's head on the floor, followed by her visible pain and a nauseating "don't make the same mistake she made" voiceover. Somehow, multiple human adults read this pitch and decided to produce it, then multiple other human adults OK'd it for screening in front of 20,000 people.

"The Cavs were trying to be silly, but they took all the silly parts from their inspiration and turned them really grim. It's baffling that nobody figured this out along the way."

We can't help but be reminded of a recent story we blogged about: Bud Light used a label — stating it was "the perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night" — that appeared to allude to "alcohol's troublesome connection to sexual assaults."

We've reached out to the Cavs for comment. We'll update this post when they get back to us.

Update at 2:01 p.m. ET. 'A Mistake':

In a statement, the Cavaliers called the video played at the arena "a mistake."

"Domestic violence is a very serious matter and has no place in a parody video that plays in an entertainment venue," the organization said. "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."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.