ESPN McCarron Apology Over Girlfriend Comments
By Michael Pearson
(CNN) — When you get bored, your eyes wander.
So when a blossoming blowout between the University of Alabama and some other team in Monday night’s college football championship floated into yawnfest territory, the electronic eyes of ESPN naturally went wandering — settling on a brunette bombshell who just happens to be the girlfriend of Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron.
“Now when you are a quarterback at Alabama, you see that lovely lady there, she does go to Auburn, I want to admit that, but she’s also Miss Alabama and that’s AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, OK,” ESPN broadcaster Brent Musburger said Monday night as the camera focused on Katherine Webb in the stands.
“Wow, I’m telling you, quarterbacks — you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman,” he gushed. “Wow!”
As the chasm grew between Alabama and the other team — the name will surely come back to us soon — ESPN kept going back to the well, repeatedly showing Webb cheering in the crowd, wearing her boyfriend’s No. 10 jersey.
Finally, Yahoo! Sports columnist Jess Passan jokingly tweeted, “Sources: A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend to seek restraining order from Brent Musburger at halftime.”
The attention prompted thousands of football fans to check out of the game and check up on McCarron’s flame, turning “Katherine Webb” into Google’s second-hottest search — behind only McCarron himself.
All the attention made her a hotter property on Twitter, as well.
She went from a scant 526 followers December 26 to more than 148,000 Tuesday, according to the stats site TwitterCounter.com, outscoring her gridiron boyfriend’s 91,000 fans on the social networking service.
In her first Tweet after the game, Webb didn’t mention what had happened.
“So extremely blessed… @10AJMcCarron. Congrats to Alabama and making history! #BCSChamps” is all she said in that message, posted at 11:07 p.m.
Musburger’s fawning attention prompted a spate of criticism of the 73-year-old broadcaster, with some posters to Twitter calling his comments “creepy.” The episode even spawned the creation of a parody Twitter account, “Horny Musburger.”
CNN was not able to reach Musburger for comment through ESPN, but the network responded, saying: “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. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”
Far from being creeped out, Webb said Tuesday that she was “flattered” by the broadcaster’s comments, entertainment website TMZ reported.
“I’ve been reading on Twitter that Musburger had backlash that he’s ‘creepy’,” TMZ quoted Webb as saying. “If I were to see him I would say, ‘I don’t think you’re creepy at all!’ “
One of McCarron’s teammates, center Barrett Jones, joked Tuesday in an appearance on CNN’s “Starting Point” that he was jealous of Webb’s sudden fame.
“Where’s the love for the actual players?” he joked. “She is certainly very pretty. But I just think Brent needs to share the love a little bit, that’s all I’m saying.”
Webb is the second rather attractive member of a football audience that Musburger and network cameras have helped push into the limelight.
Back in 2005, when ABC cameras panned across a trio of scantily clad football fans during a Florida State football game, Musburger opined that “1,500 red-blooded Americans just decided to apply” to the school.
One of those fans, Jenn Sterger, went on to a 15-minutes-of-fame career with appearances in Maxim and Playboy and a job as the stadium host for New York Jets football games. Later, quarterback Brett Favre got in trouble for sending her lurid messages while he was a player on the Jets.
For the record, Webb was Miss Alabama USA 2012 and is a 2011 graduate of Auburn University with a degree in business management and administration, according to her Miss Universe biography.
Oh, by the way, almost forgot … it was Notre Dame on the business end of that 42-14 drubbing Alabama put on.