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ESPN apologizes for Brent Musbuger gushing over Katherine Webb

katherine webb espnESPN was busy issuing statements on Tuesday. First the network announced that Rob Parker was fired for his RG3 comments, and then they apologized for announcer Brent Musburger drooling over Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron’s girlfriend.

ESPN flashed to a shot of McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, during the first quarter of the BCS National Championship Game Monday. Musburger and broadcast partner Kirk Herbstreit began gushing over Webb.

“You see that lovely lady there? She’s Miss Alabama, and that’s AJ McCarron’s girlfriend,” said Musburger. “Wow, I’m telling you, you quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman, wow, whoa!

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

ESPN and many others didn’t find the comments too amusing. ESPN PR rep Mike Soltys issued the following statement:

“We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”

Webb found the praise to be complimentary.

“It was kind of nice,” Webb told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I didn’t look at it as creepy at all. For a woman to be called beautiful, I don’t see how that’s an issue.”

Webb is a certified beauty queen, so it’s most peoples’ opinion that she is attractive. Still, Musburger was so over-the-top with his comments that many people found the 73-year-old’s words to be excessive and creepy. That’s why ESPN apologized.

Rob Parker fired by ESPN

rob-parkerRob Parker’s comments questioning Robert Griffin III’s blackness have finally cost him his job. ESPN announced on Tuesday that they would be firing the “First Take” host.

Here’s the company’s statement on the matter:

“Rob Parker’s contract expired at year’s end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew his deal.”

Parker said on “First Take” Dec. 13 that he wasn’t sure what kind of brother Griffin was. He questioned the quarterback’s blackness, and the episode re-aired throughout the day on ESPN without that part being edited out of the show. As the backlash picked up throughout the day, ESPN finally addressed the comments by calling them “inappropriate.

ESPN suspended Parker and at least one producer from the show, and then announced Tuesday they decided not to bring back Parker.

In his first extended comments since being suspended, Parker expressed very little remorse for his Griffin remarks. Parker blamed others for his RG3 comments, and then he said the public took his comments out of context. Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand says ESPN made the decision to fire Parker before the host’s interview with Click on Detroit.

Nick Saban reportedly banned ESPN in his players’ hotel rooms

nick sabanNick Saban wants his players focused for the national championship game and not getting lost in all the hype surrounding the team. In his quest to have his team achieve the proper mindset, Saban reportedly banned ESPN in his players’ hotel rooms.

According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, Tom Rinaldi said Saban had the team’s hotel make ESPN unavailable in players’ hotel rooms since Sunday.

Yahoo! Sports Dan Wetzel reported something similar.

That’s a classic Saban move, if true. It’s also smart.

The last thing Alabama needs entering Monday’s BCS National Championship Game is to hear how great they are and how they’re favored to beat Notre Dame by 10 points. Believing one’s hype often leads to teams playing with less motivation for a game.

Remember how things were leading up to the 2006 Rose Bowl? ESPN spent weeks fawning over USC and trying to decide where they ranked among the best college football dynasties of all time as if they had already beaten Texas. Sure enough, the Trojans lost to the Longhorns. Saban is doing what he can to make sure Alabama avoids the same fate. He has Bama in contention to win its third national championship in four years, which would be pretty incredible.

ESPN: Rob Parker’s Robert Griffin III comments were ‘inappropriate’

rob-parkerESPN is dealing with some serious backlash against “First Take” personality Rob Parker, who accused Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III of being a “cornball brother” who is not black enough during Thursday’s show.

The network’s PR representatives addressed the issue, saying, “The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps.”

Griffin seemed to address the comments with the following tweet.

The comment from Griffin was about as appropriate as his thoughts on being a black quarterback.

ESPN says it is “evaluating” its next steps. Hopefully those next steps will involve firing Parker and dumping “First Take.”

Rob Parker should be fired and without such a large media platform for one simple reason: He lowers the human race. While many people in the world are fighting injustice, prejudice, stereotypes, and biases, Parker is enforcing these notions by criticizing someone for not fitting in the way he wants them to be. It’s that type of thinking that prevents people in the world from achieving what should be one of our ultimate goals: equality for all, and the ability to be viewed based on who we are as individuals, regardless of race and color.

Not only do I hope ESPN’s “next steps” involve firing Parker, but I also hope they are reconsidering the entire “First Take” program. The show is designed to do one thing: spark debate by any means necessary. The hosts sit there each day trying to top the other in a game of “who can offend the public with the most outrageous statement?” The show promotes bad values, bad patterns of thinking, and it teaches aspiring broadcasters that being a loudmouth with radical opinions is the only way to get on TV.

I try to convey my personal feelings about the program any time I am forced to write about it. I hope many people have taken note and will fight the show the only way possible: by refusing to watch it or acknowledge anything that is said on it. The only way it will be cancelled is if people stop watching.

I just hope that ESPN will save its soul by dumping the program and its personalities finally.

ESPN commenters create funny > Sanchez meme

Visiting the comments section for ESPN.com articles is generally a masochistic practice that offers very little reward for readers. While not quite as bad as YouTube commenters, ESPN commenters are pretty poor. However, on Sunday, the cosmic forces aligned and led the ESPN.com community to create a pretty funny meme.

Much like last year’s ESPN commenter meme against Tim Tebow, this one involved commenters writing things that are greater than Mark Sanchez. The comments were added to an article about Fireman Ed saying he’s resigning from his superfan post. This was likely chosen as the place for the meme because Ed says his support of Sanchez over Tebow led to confrontations with Jets fans.

Take a look below and you’ll get an idea of how the comments went. Some of them were actually pretty good.

[Read more...]

Neil Everett apologizes for accidentally swearing on-air (Video)

ESPN anchor Neil Everett was caught swearing on-air during a Friday night edition of SportsCenter at a time when he thought his microphone was off.

Everett could be heard saying “son of a bitch,” and “god dang it.”

After the show returned from commercial, he apologized for his language.

“My mic was open. I know better than that. I’ve been doing this long enough, and I apologize to all those who had to hear that,” he said, clearly disappointed with himself.

Nobody will hold it against Everett. He is an excellent broadcaster and, along with Stan Verrett, he forms the best SportsCenter anchor team. Let this be another lesson to current and aspiring broadcasters to never say something you shouldn’t as long as a microphone is around, because you never know when it might be on.

ESPN NFL show goes crazy with ‘The Princess Bride’ references (Video)

Last week, the hosts of ESPN’s “NFL Kickoff” show decided to try to work in as many references to “The Princess Bride” into one episode as they possibly could. Buzzfeed put together a video featuring several of the references, though host Trey Wingo says they missed a few.

Yes, that’s Wingo, Mark Schlereth, and Tedy Bruschi running as many references to the classic movie as they could imagine. The Cliffs of Insanity, storming the castle, corners of an unusual size, inconceivable, only mostly dead … it was brilliant. We asked Wingo about the inspiration for the references:

Whatever the reason, the result was our pleasure. Well done fellas, well done.

I’d offer more commentary, but I was not hired for my brains.