Legendary, and often controversial broadcaster Brent Musburger is in very hot water today, and deservedly so. During last night’s Sugar Bowl, he made comments about woman beater and Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon that were very tone deaf and extremely insensitive.
After being alerted to how poorly those comments were received by the general public, Musburger tried to walk back his earlier commentary, but again failed. His explanation went over like a lead balloon.
Here’s the thing though- take a long look at what Brent Musburger said just last Wednesday, nearly a week before the Sugar Bowl.
Musburger did a bowl game preview teleconference on December 28th (in which he totally nailed it regarding New Year’s Eve college football, certainly he did not hold back), and the Joe Mixon portion of the Q&A is transcribed for you below. (The entire thing is linked here)
This actually took place while Musburger was watching his alma mater play and win the Pinstripe Bowl.
Q. The Joe Mixon saga has been a major story in Norman. I wanted your impressions of the situation with the video being released, his subsequent apology. Also how big a factor do you think this will be on the telecast?
Brent Musburger: I fully expected this question. I’m really glad it came up.
It’s been a discussion point with us ever since we saw the video. I was aware of the situation, but I guess I was unaware of the full details about the video.
I think anybody who sees it, when you first see it, it is very troubling. There is no question about it. Obviously there was a push and a slap, but then an overreaction. I think we were all appalled by it.
I look at it in a couple of ways. Number one, I’m aware that the media down in Oklahoma went to have that released quite some time ago, I believe, and they decided because it was not a crime committed or something, they didn’t reveal it when the incident occurred. I think everybody would have benefited had that video been released immediately, but it wasn’t, so we deal with it.
You’re left to make up your mind on a couple of things: that Joe Mixon under no circumstance should be allowed to play for Oklahoma. I understand somebody thinking that and I get it. I also understand Bob Stoops’ position. He did see the video. He suspended the running back. Then he offered him a second chance. I’m a little bit of a softy, so I get offering somebody a second chance. I hope, I hope beyond hope, that he makes the most of it.
I was impressed by the young man coming up by himself with that apology the other day. I thought it was heartfelt. He can actually help with youngsters. You cannot as a male world class athlete react toward a female in that situation like he did under any circumstance whatsoever, beyond somebody coming at you with a gun or something like that. That’s a totally different thing.
He overreacted. We all know it. Coach Stoops stood by him, had already suspended him, and obviously is planning on using him.
But to the direct question about the broadcast, it will certainly be mentioned. I have a theory about things like that, and I follow it. You get to it early and you get it behind you, then you concentrate with the ballgame that’s at hand. 98, 99 percent will have seen that video. They do not want to be beaten over the head with it by the time they come to the ballgame.
I’m pulling for the young man. I hope he gets a chance in the National Football League. I hope he learned a very valuable lesson. I hope he passes it along to a lot of athletes who are as talented as he is, because it’s a message worth delivering, that under no circumstance can you overreact in the manner that he did.
It’s too bad that Brent Musburger, a 77-year-old man who’s been in live television broadcasting for several decades, couldn’t find the time, and a way to get his message across fully and appropriately. Look again at what he said on the teleconference, this passage specifically:
“You cannot as a male world class athlete react toward a female in that situation like he did under any circumstance whatsoever, beyond somebody coming at you with a gun or something like that. That’s a totally different thing.”
Musburger, despite his many years of experience, and a second attempt for further clarification, failed to express that sentiment on the air. It was an inexplicable, unforgivable mistake.
Had he said during the game what he said on the media call, I doubt many people would have been upset with him, and I doubt we would be talking about him today.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks