Kudos to Katherine Webb and her parents, who refused to get worked up about the entire kerfuffle. Personally, I’ve read and re-read the quotes, and I don’t understand the outrage. Yet ESPN felt it necessary to issue a this statement: “We apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far, and Brent understands that.”
Does he? Well, he’s one up on me. How did the commentary go too far but the camera work did not? If the camera continues to linger on the beautiful girlfriend in the stands, what exactly is Musburger — who is there to comment on what you, the viewer, is seeing — supposed to say? He has game notes on the players, but beyond saying she was a former Miss Alabama, he doesn’t have a lot of talking points to work with.
All the networks are guilty of too many pointless shots of wives, girlfriends and parents during games. Wimbledon telecasts may be the worst offenders, what with the Royals in the stands and the very attractive wives/girlfriends of the players. That’s right, I said it. They’re “very attractive.” (Editor’s note: The Washington Post apologizes for this commentary, and Tracee understands that.) Oddly, we seldom see the “good-looking” — another of Musburger’s offensive phrases — boyfriends of the female athletes.
Musburger has been in the broadcast booth since the days when very few sporting events were televised. He was among the very first announcers I heard as a kid. I don’t recall him ever making an inappropriate remark. I think his age is catching up with him — as it does with all of us — but I didn’t see anything offensive in what he said. An older gentleman commented on a pageant queen’s looks, but he didn’t do it in a creepy way. If he said, “Boy, I’d like some of that,” then fire him. But he didn’t. He didn’t even come close to that.
Commercials during game broadcasts are far more offensive than anything Musburger said. For example, during the Redskins-Cowboys game two weeks ago, we were treated to a commercial for the remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” followed immediately by a tight shot of a McRib being lifted out of a pool of barbecue sauce in a McDonald’s ad. Ugh. Most horror movie promos should not be viewed by children, but then again, I still have nightmares over “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.”
And don’t get me started on the hypocrisy of the willingness to make money peddling erectile dysfunction medication, but the unwillingness to let a 73-year-old say that a beautiful woman is, in fact, beautiful. Maybe if Musburger and Webb had sat in adjoining bathtubs, that would have made it okay.