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Musburger in paradise

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Brent Musburger is my hero.

For those of you who are not familiar with the name, Brent Musburger is a television sportscaster for the ESPN and ABC networks. He was one of the original members of “The NFL Today,” one of the legendary shows covering professional football. According to his Wikipedia page, he has covered such sports as NASCAR, the NBA, Major League Baseball and both NCAA basketball and football. He apparently knows what he’s doing, but somehow, all that didn’t keep him from landing in some hot water recently.

Recently, he was one of the guys covering the NCAA BCS championship football game that took place between the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and the Alabama Crimson Tide. I spent a lot of my time early that night doing the prep work in trying to convince my wife that an NCAA championship football game was much more important than the season premiers of either “The Bachelor” or “The Biggest Loser.” I told her this would be a compelling battle between two collegiate dynasties with rich football histories. “We may never see a contest like this again in our lifetimes,” I believe were the words I used in an effort to gain control of the upstairs television.

I could tell by the look on her face that I would be sanctioned to the basement TV, and I was fine with that because I really didn’t need to see her drooling over this season’s bachelor on “The Bachelor,” whom she described as, and I quote, “pretty hot.”

By the time I made it down the 13 steps to the basement and turned on the television, I believe that Notre Dame was getting beaten by two touchdowns. And from there, it just got worse. It was a contest of men versus boys. Little boys. Little boys that don’t know how to play football very well. I don’t know if anybody informed Notre Dame this was a “tackle” game and not two-hands touch. Oh who am I kidding, the Irish couldn’t even get two hands on them most of the time.

When a game turns lop-sided such as this one did, it’s a sportscaster’s job to keep the viewers’ interest piqued so they don’t flip channels. On this particular night, the cameras started panning the crowd for something of interest. The camera operators gravitated toward this young lady who evidently just happened to be the girlfriend of Alabama’s starting quarterback. This is where Brent’s troubles began.

As the cameras hovered upon her, Brent made some comments about her appearance. In so many words, he apparently thought she was pretty. Really pretty. Really, really pretty. By my standards, he was not wrong. By my 19-year-old son’s standards, he was not wrong. By the state of Alabama’s standards, of which she was crowned Miss Alabama, he was not wrong. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone that can say he was wrong.

However, evidently, when you compliment a woman on her looks on a worldwide television sports broadcast, you are not allowed to over-excitedly use the words “Wow!!” and “Whoa!!!” in her description. For some reason, people find that offensive. So much so that ESPN issued an apology for Musburger’s remarks the very next day. I don’t really see a problem with what he said, and I find it ridiculous that any apologies needed to be issued, except maybe one from the University of Notre Dame for wasting over three hours of my life that I can’t get back.

No small part of my past was spent watching Chicago Cub baseball games. Admittedly, many parts of a Chicago Cubs broadcast are not terribly exciting. It was at these times, much to Harry Caray’s Budweiser-induced joy, that WGN producer Arnie Harris would start panning the crowd and showing shots that inevitably consisted of good-looking women wearing Cubby blue — just not very much of it. And I never saw a problem with it. So I guess that I have grown accustomed to inadvertently becoming a male-chauvinist pig.

But I still find it ludicrous that ESPN issued an apology. I tend to think that the leader in sports television was part of a grand scheme to make the 73-year-old Musburger take the fall. If I remember correctly (which I don’t do very often anymore), there was more than one camera-angle focused on this young woman. If that’s the case, that means ESPN was not only shooting from the book depository window, but they also had a guy shooting from the grassy knoll. This is starting to look like one big conspiracy, and Brent is their patsy.

I also find it to be peculiarly ironic that at the exact same time the football game was appearing on ESPN, their sister station, ABC, was running the season premier of “The Bachelor,” a television show filled with scantily-clad young women specifically designed to make red-blooded American guys sit up and say “Hubba-hubba.” Will they issue an apology for that?

I’m going to stop talking now because this is almost starting to resemble an actual opinion column, and that’s the last thing I want. But I think America and it’s politically-correct culture needs to cut this guy some slack. Sure, Brent Musburger may be nothing more than a creepy, skeevy, dirty old man, but since I plan on being one myself someday, I just thought that I should speak up in his defense.

I’ve got your back, Brent.

You can contact Wallace at gwallace@shawnews.com. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com.

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