Brent Musburger, Katherine Webb, ESPN And The Word Police

Brent Musburger, Katherine Webb, ESPN And The Word Police

The Alabama Crimson Tide are the kings of college football after blowing out Notre Dame 42-14 in Monday's BCS National Championship game.  Yet fans are still talking about Brent Musburger's on-air gushing over Katherine Webb.

The game got out of hand early leaving ESPN, minus suspense, looking for material.  The cameras then focused on Katherine Webb, a former Miss Alabama and current girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron.

That's when ESPN announcers Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit chimed in:

“You quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women,” Musburger, 73, said.

“What a beautiful woman.”

“Wow!” said Herbstreit.

“Whoa!” Musburger added.

“A.J’.s doing some things right down in Tuscaloosa,” Herbstreit said.

“If you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pop,” Musburger said.

I was out watching the game when Musburger made his comments and, as the kids say, I "LOL'd."

The cameras continued to focus on Webb throughout the game, leaving millions of viewers wondering whether Musburger was going to wrap a necktie around his head, rip off his coat and shirt and pound his bare chest repeatedly before scaling the Sun Life Stadium wall in search of his lassie.

Alas, those who stuck it out saw nothing but a lousy game.

The next day, inexplicably, ESPN apologized for Musburger's comments.  Then Katherine Webb took to the airwaves saying that an apology was not necessary and that the media has been unfair to Musburger.

Here's the thing:

Brent Musburger was over the top but not inappropriate.  Most boys growing up in Alabama, I trust, dream of playing for the Crimson Tide.  And A.J. McCarron, with two national championship rings in two years, is an Alabama legend, with or without his beauty queen girlfriend.

But for ESPN to issue an apology for Musburger is a bit much.  This wasn't a Jimmy the Greek or Al Campanis moment; two famous on-air, career ending gaffes.

It wasn't even a Rob Parker moment.  Parker is a now former ESPN commentator  fired this month from the daily shouting match called "First Take," which features guests usually ranting about Tim Tebow or Kobe Bryant.  Parker was fired after wondering out loud whether Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is "a brother or a cornball brother, essentially saying that Griffin isn't black enough.

Free speech is not free of consequences.

ESPN apologizing for Brent Musburger's benign comments is silly.  In Parker's case, they should apologize for ever putting "First Take" on the air.

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