Outrage about Musburger smacks of hypocrisy

Who's kidding who when it comes to sex appeal not being featured during sports broadcasts?

Fox held an NFL playoff conference call on Wednesday and the subject turned to Brent Musburger.

Musburger received some criticism for going maybe one "whoa" too many when ESPN's cameras focused on Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, during the Tide's blowout win over Notre Dame in Monday's BCS national title game.

For many, it was the highlight moment of a mismatch only the "Roll Tide" gang and Notre Dame haters could love.

ESPN, of course, had to respond to the criticism in a politically correct manner.

Mike Soltys, ESPN's vice president of communications, apologized on Twitter, saying: "We always try to capture interesting story lines 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."

On the teleconference, Eric Shanks, the co-president of Fox Sports, was asked about crossing the line when it comes to talking about the appearance of a person in the crowd.

"It's not something that's part of a sporting event," Shanks said. "I don't think we'd ever direct our guys to talk specifically about how good- or bad-looking somebody is in the stands. I don't think it's ever come up. I don't think there's a line because it's not part of a sporting event in my mind."

And then Troy Aikman chimed in with: "Well, I just found out what the line was."

Aikman chuckled as he said it because he had to be as shocked as anyone that Fox, which shows more people in the stands per event than anyone, doesn't consider that to be part of a sporting event.

The whole controversy, if that's what you call it, smacks of hypocrisy.

Look, there are plenty of ways that Musburger can annoy, and he has irritated fans across this country for five decades now.

I remember 76ers fans couldn't stand him when he was working NBA games for CBS in the late 1970s, and many Penn State fans hit the mute button when they see him doing a Big Ten game today.

But blasting him for saying what millions of American males were probably saying — or at least, thinking — in sports bars and living rooms across the country is a little ridiculous and smacks of hypocrisy for an industry that knows all too well that sex appeal not only sells, but is often a key to success.

If it is not, then why has the ABC/ESPN family made shots of the cheerleaders and the USC "Song Girls" a staple of its college football coverage long before Keith Jackson offered his first "Whoa Nellie!"?

Do you think it's just a coincidence that almost every college and NFL sideline reporter is a female, as if a balding, overweight 50-year-old male isn't capable of asking Nick Saban what adjustments he is going to make at halftime?

Do you think it's just a coincidence that Fox News, for example, features its female anchors and analysts on its nightly talk shows with much more regularity than Charles Krauthammer?

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys became "America's Team" because everybody liked those spiffy stars on the helmets and the charisma of Tom Landry, or do you think it was because the Cowboys cheerleaders were selling more posters than Roger Staubach and the entire team combined?

If sex isn't part of a sports broadcast, then the networks should clean their houses entirely and make sure not to accept any advertising for male-enhancement products and should make sure that virtually every punch line of every sitcom doesn't have a sexual innuendo attached.

Really, who's kidding who here?

Some considered it "creepy" that the 73-year-old Musburger would find a woman in her 20s attractive. Since when is there an age restriction of recognizing beauty? And also, why is it considered funny when 90-year-old Betty White or 79-year-old Joan Rivers can make comments with sexual overtones?

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