Sports Arena

PMS at ESPN

In the United States of Offense, Brent Musburger is a major miscreant.

By 1.10.13

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As alert observers know, one of the principal differences between men and women is that women have PMS, while men have ESPN. A much better deal. But Tuesday, ESPN had an acute attack of PMS.

By the time Monday night when Brent Musburger crooned a bit about the manifest beauty of quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, the only issue on the field was whether Bama’s point after touchdown kicker would have to be treated after the game for exhaustion. The Irish had about as much chance against the Crimson Tide Monday as an armadillo has against a steel-belted radial. Had it been a fight, the ref would have awarded Bama a TKO in the second.

Musburger’s innocuous aside about beauty in the stands was a brief and welcome break from carnage on the field. And what he said during a wildly non-competitive game about the comely Katherine Webb was decorous, though banal, and without a hint of the leer. Read and judge for yourself: After calling attention to the obvious, that Webb is a beauty, Musburger added: "You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman." “Wow,” analyst Kirk Herbstreit analyzed.” "Whoa!" back to Musburger. "If you're a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with Pop." (Video here.)

Sound advice. (Though you really don’t have to urge strenuously to get Alabama boys to want to grow up to be quarterbacks. It’s in the blood.) So it was at least a bit of a surprise, even in these politically correct times, when a minor fertilizer storm followed Musburger’s innocent and heart-felt remarks. Offense-tropic twits tweeted their scandalized little hearts out. Musburger was called a dirty old man and his remarks termed “creepy” and worse by thousands of passive-aggressive indignatos with time on their hands and progressive passion in what passes for their hearts. Houston Mitchell, a sportswriter for the ever with-it L.A. Times declared, “Most of America got a little grossed out.”

Well no, Houston, America was not grossed out. At least not the portion of America where good sense and traces of testosterone have yet to be stamped out. Bi-coastal and university faculty lounge progressives may have their knickers in a knot about Musburger’s straightforward appreciation of La Webb. But normal American men and women see nothing remarkable in what Brent said. In fact, most would have considered it an oversight not to remark on the most pleasing looks of young Webb, and the amazing good luck of the talented McCarron.

But, sadly, it’s not normal America ESPN caters to in its pronouncements, but to the freak-bubble of the cultural left. So in reaction to this little snit, ESPN’s Vice President for Craven and Nonsensical Apologies issued this vague and timorous 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,” ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys tweeted. “However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.” 

No. No. No. I’m certain that the 73-year-old Brent does not understand this. Nor do I. Nor does Miss Webb, who said Tuesday that she wasn’t offended by praise from the press box. “For a woman to be called beautiful, I don’t see how that’s an issue,” she said, demonstrating a firm grasp of the obvious that eludes the more progressive.

“Too far” for whom is the question. Just who is ESPN trying to sooth with its uncalled for apology? Is the network trying to increase viewership among the NOW power-lifting club, the appearance of many of whose members is enough to make a freight-train back up and take a dirt road? Are they trying to entice those with black-belts in women’s studies to become Monday Night Football regulars? These are the circles of geek-branch feminism, where any male attention to female pulchritude is considered sexist, evil, and actionable. ESPN’s gutless apology will cut no ice with the far greater number of the well-grounded who know that male appreciation of female beauty is not an offense, but is in fact an absolute requirement for the continuation of the species.

So, what’s next at ESPN? Will the network start blacking out the cheerleaders? Will the network start hiring sideline babes who look like Musburger? No. Networks will continue to show the cheerleaders and will continue to hire great-looking young women to ask pointless questions of inarticulate athletes after the game is over. This latest episode of network nervousness is just another example of the politically correct hypocrisy that disfigures our age. My succinct message to the castrati who cower in the ESPN executive suites is, “Get over it, girls.”

The biggest shame of the Musburger/Webb/ESPN kerfuffle is that it has taken attention away from the far larger story, which is that President Obama Wednesday, by executive order, took points way from Alabama and declared the championship game a draw. “Alabama didn’t win that game themselves, and they got more than their fair share of points,” Obama said in explaining his unprecedented action in the name of spreading the wealth around. Now THAT’s progressive.

While White House officials clearly believe Alabama got many more points than it needed Monday, they declined to comment on whether La Webb is too beautiful.

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About the Author

Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.