ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – ESPN will air an advertisement from SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center after initially rejecting it for referencing "the birth of Jesus."
"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," a statement from ESPN read.
The rejected PSA discussed the hospital's "Trees of Hope" program, which gives inspirational messages to children with illnesses. The spot was scheduled to run during a college basketball game this weekend with donated time from the universities The ad included the phrase "at SSM Children's Medical Center, we celebrate the birth of Jesus" and implored viewers to reveal "God's healing presence this Christmas."
"As originally submitted, the spot did not meet our commercial advocacy standards," was ESPN's initial statement about the ad. "We have since been supplied with a different commercial, which will air on the 14th."
The company's guidelines says it does not air any political or religious advocacy commercials.
The replacement PSA – which has since been deemed unnecessary – did not reference religion, and instead touted the hospital's programs. Cardinal Glennon is part of SSM healthcare, which was founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary and is one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the country.
Each commercial that airs on ESPN is reviewed as part of an approval process, according to the network, and not all commercials make it on air. If a commercial does not meet ESPN standards, a spokesperson said it engages in a dialogue around the steps that can be taken for an ad to meet the network's approval.
The original ad will run in Saturday's VCU at Northern Iowa basketball game on ESPNU.
"The decision is consistent with our practice of individual review of all ads under our commercial advocacy standards," the ESPN statement read.
After ESPN's reversal, Cardinal Glennon said thanks to "all of those in America" who stood up for faith. This was the hospital's final comment on the issue.
You can watch both ads in the above video.