By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
I may be a little late to the party on this one, but I still am having a difficult time understanding the problem with ESPN play-by-play announcer Brent Musburger’s comments regarding Katherine Webb.
Webb is the girlfriend of Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron. She also happens to be the former Miss Alabama and finished in the top 10 at the Miss USA pageant.
She also, being a beauty queen, is quite attractive and Musburger has been pilloried in some circles for noticing the obvious and stating it as well.
In case you missed it, Musburger noted Miss Webb’s presence in the stands during the BCS Championship game Jan. 7 by making the following comments:
“...You see that lovely lady there, she goes to Auburn ... but she’s also Miss Alabama and that’s A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, OK. Wow, I’m tellin’ you, you quarterbacks, you get all the good lookin’ women. Wow, that’s a beautiful woman. If you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throwing it around with pop.”
Pretty awful, huh? Hardly, especially considering the circumstances.
The camera had lingered on Miss Webb —ironically, a graduate of Alabama’s archrival Auburn — for several moments and why not? The game already was getting out of hand at the 4:23 mark of the first quarter with Alabama up 21-0 on its way to a 42-14 rout of Notre Dame in New Orleans and viewers, who were overwhelmingly red-blooded American males, certainly needed something more pleasant to watch.
But, soon afterward, with the politically correct police in a tizzy, ESPN rushed to issue an apology (by the way, sports fans across America still are awaiting ESPN’s apology for foisting Pam Ward upon them).
“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, said ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys. “However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”
Except, who was really offended? Certainly it wasn’t Miss Webb, who told the Associated Press, “It was kind of nice. I didn’t look at it as creepy at all. For a woman to be called beautiful, I don’t see how that’s an issue.”
She went even further in an appearance on the “Today” show, telling host Matt Lauer: “I think the media has been really unfair to (Brent Musburger). If he would’ve said something along the line that we were hot or sexy or made any derogatory statements like that, I think that would’ve been a little bit different, but the fact that he said that we were beautiful and gorgeous, I don’t see why any woman wouldn’t be flattered by that.”
Even McCarron had some fun with the whole matter. During the telecast, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray tweeted out this message on Twitter: “Aj McCarrons girlfriend needs to become a Dawg fan.” To which McCarron later responded: “u don’t win enough bud!!”
The bottom line? People need to stop being so uptight to the point where men cannot comment on a woman’s beauty in even the most innocuous ways. Society has gone to great lengths to emasculate men with guys afraid to even hold a door open for a woman for fear of being called sexist.
Enough is enough. Be bold guys, reclaim your masculinity and be not afraid to say: “Wow, Miss Alabama, you’re gorgeous.”* (*Disclaimer: but not nearly as beautiful as you, my darling wife.)
Ruthenberg is sports editor at the News & Eagle. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.