ESPN sportscaster Brent Musburger’s praise of Oklahoma University running back Joe Mixon during Monday’s Sugar Bowl drew heavy scrutiny from Twitter users.
During the Jan. 2 telecast, Musburger said that Mixon was given a second chance after being caught on tape in 2014 punching a white female Oklahoma student. However, the footage from the incident showed that the young woman instigated the fight.
“It was troubling, very troubling to see,” Musburger says. “[The coaches] swear the young man is doing fine … But he sat out the suspension, reinstated … And let’s hope, given a second chance by [head coach] Bob Stoops and Oklahoma. Let’s hope that this young man makes the most of his chance and goes on to have a career in the National Football League.”
While the legendary sportscaster made his statements during the live broadcast, Twitter users began attacking him. And many claimed Musburger dismissed the feelings of the woman involved.
So "the young man" Mixon is "doing fine" after punching a woman, and Musberger is singing his praises.
HOW IS THE GIRL DOING?
— Becky Kevoian (@BobsFunGirl) January 3, 2017
Sportswriter Julie Dicaro believes that Musburger has ignored the 2014 incident because Mixon’s talent is more important than the victim’s feelings.
What it is about young men being good at sports that makes adult men fall over themselves to make excuses for their behavior?
— Julie DiCaro is writing a book (@JulieDiCaro) January 3, 2017
Twitter user Patti B wants the broadcaster to imagine that the victim was his daughter. And wonders how he would respond then.
— Patti B (@PattiB558) January 3, 2017
But St. Louis Today sports reporter Ben Frederickson thought that Musburger missed a real opportunity to address violence against women.
ESPN could have used the Joe Mixon story to address a huge problem in sports. Instead Brent Musburger wished him a lengthy NFL career. Yeesh
— Ben Frederickson (@Ben_Fred) January 3, 2017
As tweets began to roll in, Musburger responded to his critics during the same live telecast.
“Let me make something perfectly clear,” he says. “What he did with that young lady was brutal. … He’s apologized. … He got a second chance from Bob Stoops. I happen to pull for people with second chances, okay? Let me make it absolutely clear that I hope he has a wonderful career. And he teaches people with that brutal, violent video. Okay?”