The Washington Post

Brent Musburger and that “smokin’ ” comment (updated)

Katherine Webb (left) got more attention than her quarterback boyfriend. (John Bazemore / AP)

Updated with ESPN’s correction on the audio

After his telecast of the Baylor-Kansas game Monday night, Brent Musburger delivered what sounded initially like either a clever inside joke or a verbal jab in response to the kerfuffle he created last week with his comments about Katherine Webb during the BCS championship game.

As ESPN’s cameras repeatedly returned to Webb during Alabama’s rout of Notre Dame, Musburger had described the Crimson Tide quarterback’s girlfriend in such appreciative terms that ESPN felt compelled to apologize. Webb and her family said that was unnecessary and Webb, a former Miss Alabama, was so unscarred by the incident that she appeared on the “Today” show and will be in the SI swimsuit issue. She also deftly evaded the entreaties of Donald Trump.

Musburger had been silent about the incident until he delivered what seemed to be an innocent enough joke, provided Rowe was in on it. Although ESPN may disagree, Musburger placed a fairly obvious amount of emphasis on “really smokin'” when he signed off with:

“Once again, your final score, Kansas 61, Baylor 44. Coming up next, ‘SportsCenter.’ For Fran Franschilla and Holly Rowe, who was really smokin’ tonight, I want to say so long from Lawrence.”

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz told USA Today that Musburger’s parting words were:

“For Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe, it was really smokin’ tonight.”

Krulewitz added that, just like the Webbs, “We are moving on.”

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.


Webb, family say apology was unnecessary

ESPN apologizes

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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