Last words (?) on Katherine Webb
Let me be the last to weigh in on the matter of Katherine Webb, beauty pageant winner, aspiring model (including, reportedly, a spot in SI's Swimsuit Issue) and close personal friend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron.
Was it a tad creepy and uncomfortable when ESPN's Brent Musburger gushed over Ms. Webb's appearance during Monday night's BCS National Championship Game?
No doubt. But did the 73-year-old play-by-play man cross the appropriateness line by enough to warrant an apology from ESPN. No, as Webb herself has said.
The biggest problem with ESPN's reaction was the hypocrisy inherent in it after decades of television directors offering closeups of cheerleaders, in addition to attractive wives and girlfriends of players.
That was why it was a bit of a shock when Fox Sports co-president Eric Shanks responded this way when asked about the propriety of announcers discussing the physical attributes of women shown on screen:
"It's not something that is part of a sporting event. I don't think we would ever direct our guys to specifically talk about how good or how bad looking somebody is in the stands. It's never come up. I don't think there is a line. It's not part of a sporting event, in my mind."
Really? After hearing Shanks' comments, veteran Fox analyst Troy Aikman offered this telling crack:
"Well, I just found out what the line was."