The Truthiness About Musburger

I need comedian Stephen Colbert quick. He’s the man who brought the world the concept of “truthiness” (ie. not quite the truth), and I need a word for “not quite inappropriate .”

You see, I found Brent Musburger’s comments on AJ McCarron’s girlfriend to be outdated, cornball, creepy and as shallow as a Saharan puddle. However, I’m not sure they merit an ESPN apology or demands for a reprimand.

Obviously, the problem with the remarks were the implication that Katherine Webb was the spoils of McCarron’s football-playing prowess.

It makes both Webb and McCarron sound extraordinarily superficial. He’s deserving because he can throw a football. She’s a flesh and blood trophy.

Musburger glosses over the reality that McCarron is an old-school gentleman, plays the piano and majors in engineering, while Webb speaks three languages and volunteers at an elder care facility.

I totally made up all that biographical information for the purposes of illustration…Although it might be true. Who’d know any different? The telecast only covered the fact that between these two there is a great deal of athleticism and good looks.

Unfortunately, there are a few never-grew-up, frat boys out there. (I expanded my vocabulary thanks to these geniuses.) For them this over-simplified truth is enough.

Hmm…an over-simplified truth? Maybe I don’t need Colbert’s help after all. Maybe what Musberger was really guilty of was truthiness. And his punishment is simply this: For one night, fans will remember that Brent more closely resembled a word-inventing comedian than a play-by-play announcer.

UPDATE: I like this take from Twitter follower Paul Dulac, “Comments with a beer with a bud at a bar vs. same with a mic with a national audience on TV. Brent should know the difference.”

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6 Responses to The Truthiness About Musburger

  1. Phil says:

    Lori,

    While all you say is true why not go the extra step? ESPN and all the networks engage in salacious ( no I didn’t look it up-/ I know big words) behavior in their crowd shots. Who really believes the Cowboys cheerleaders add anything to the game. Fan experience? Please.

    The director decided on the shot and the producer encouraged it. Brent is responsible for his heinous commentary but the real problem is the perception of the male stereotype that I need ” eye candy” to enjoy the sport. I don’t and I suspect most MEN don’t either.

  2. Tony says:

    Phil, ESPN claims that the reason that she was included was because she is an Auburn student (or graduate I forget) dating the Alabama quarterback. That does merit a side story similar to Brady Quinn’s sister dating AJ Hawk when Notre Dame played OSU. However, the focus was not on that, and so ESPN does share responsibility for allowing it to turn into anything more than that.

    Lori, I ask you this. What would happen if Erin Andrews oogled over AJ McCarron all night. Can you imagine that backlash that there would be towards women sports reporters? You oughta see the double standard there. I’m not so sure Erin Andrews still has a job in that situation.

    Also, I think you are subconsciously or consciously giving him a large pass due to his age. If Kirk Herbstreit made all of those comments, I don’t think you would be taking it quite the same. It’s creepy how Brent acted, objectifies women, and I fear that people are giving him a pass because he grew up in a different era. You using words like never-grew-up frat boy or outdated, cornball, and cheesy wouldn’t work as well with somebody younger who should have known better. I don’t think Brent should get a pass because of his age and his creepy grandpa status.

    Now let’s call this what it is. I don’t think Brent should get fired, except this is possibly a larger sign of his loss of mental alertness and the early signs of his impending senility, but I do think ESPN had every responsibility to issue an apology because this exposed the double standard and constant objectification of women in sports that needs to be addressed.

    I make this rant because this comes at a time when there are obvious mistreatments of women by athletes that stem from this sports culture that Brent so easily brought up. Steubenville? Sexual Assault allegations at Notre Dame? Female reporters mistreated during NFL locker room interviews? The sports culture needs to change, and I hope you are part of that movement instead of making excuses, because I really do enjoy your commentary Lori.

    • Lori Schmidt says:

      Tony, I love your passion! I think the reason I’m not quite as indignant as some is because I have more of an issue about what Brent *didn’t* say than what he did. No mention of what kind of person or student Webb was. She might as well have been a china doll. However, I think McCarron was stereotyped as well. He was able to date the beauty queen, because he was the meathead jock.

      I also understand the difficulty of speaking to a live audience, so there may be an element of that in my analysis.

      Your passion tells me I should give the topic a little more thought. I promise to do that.

      • Tony says:

        Lori,

        . I agree, live tv does make it a little more forgivable than something recorded or what not, because it’s probably easier than I realize to just go off on a tangent and not even realize it.

        I always love your blog/twitter and although I don’t really listen to the radio that much, my friends that listen to you think you’re top notch too! Thanks for responding to my tirade!

      • Lori Schmidt says:

        Tirade implies you went off the handle. I don’t think you did. In fact, you gave me a lot to think about.

        I keep bumping up against a contradiction: Some comments are more innocuous than others, and yet in the culture you rightly describe, anything that contributes to the problem can’t be considered insignificant.

        At the moment, what I think is that what Musberger said was so cartoonish, the only people it may have had an impact on were those already inclined to see women as objects.

        I’ll continue to ruminate, though! And thank you so much for your kind words!!!

  3. Jim S says:

    Meh, he was filling time in a blowout.

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