ESPN announcer Brent Musburger’s fawning comments about Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, earned him a rebuke from the World Wide Leader after the BCS National Championship game in January. So what on earth was Musburger thinking venturing back into the same territory Saturday?
Musburger and analyst Kirk Herbstreit, both of whom were in the booth during the title game, were killing time in the waning moments of Oregon’s blow-out win over UCLA Saturday by talking about McCarron’s chances to win the Heisman Trophy when Webb became the subject of another of Musburger’s dreams. “Two national championships in a row, and headed for a possible third, and he doesn’t show on the top five of that one ballot? I don’t get it,” Musburger started. “Plus the fact, you’d like to have his girlfriend for his ceremony.”
Watch it, via The Big Lead:
It seems he knew he was wading into trouble right away. “I didn’t say that,” he said, to which Herbstreit responded, “I hear nothing. I say nothing, I hear nothing,” through nervous laughter. Musburger then jokingly accused Herbstreit of “run(ning) for the exits on me.”
ESPN apologized for Musburger’s comments during the title game last year, saying that “the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.” If he understands it, though, he doesn’t seem capable of stopping himself from painting Webb as nothing more than an object to be won or lost on a football field, something that Webb may not take offense to but that is demeaning to everybody involved. ESPN might want to make sure Musburger actually understands that this time, lest anyone get the idea that the original apology — and the editorial standards it says it wants to uphold — were meaningless.