SBD/January 8, 2013/Media

Musburger Criticized For Comments About McCarron's Girlfriend; Media Buzz Has Legs

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Webb saw her Twitter followers increase from 2,300 to more than 109,000 overnight
ESPN's telecast of last night's Alabama-Notre Dame BCS Championship Game "will be remembered" for Brent Musburger's comments about Alabama QB A.J. McCarron's girlfriend, Katherine Webb, according to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. ESPN's cameras in the first quarter of the game panned to Webb, who in '12 won the Miss Alabama USA pageant, and Musburger said, "You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman." ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit responded, "Wow!" Musburger then added, "Whoa!" Herbstreit replied with, "AJ's doing some things right down in Tuscaloosa." The conversation about Webb wrapped up when Musburger then "offered tips to Alabama youth on how to date attractive women." He said, "If you're a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with Pop." Solomon notes ESPN showed Webb "several more times in the first half, but none in the second half." Solomon: "Perhaps someone at Disney realized that a 73-year-old man's comments were being viewed by some people on Twitter as creepy" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 1/8). SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes the exchange between Herbsreit and Musburger about Webb "straddled the line between amusing and unsettling" (SI.com, 1/8). USA TODAY's Rachel George notes Webb, who has been dating McCarron for about a month, "started trending on Twitter early" in the game. Plenty of air time during the broadcast and "an awkward exchange between the ESPN announcers served as a Twitter boost" for Webb. Her twitter followers increased "from around 2,300 to more than 109,000 by early Tuesday morning" (USATODAY.com, 1/8).

COVERAGE EVERYWHERE: The following programs, among others, this morning discussed and/or reported on Musburger's comments about Webb: ABC’s “GMA,” “CBS This Morning,” NBC’s “Today,” CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” “The Dan Patrick Show” and “Live with Kelly and Michael” (THE DAILY). NBC’s Matt Lauer said, “It was a little over the top, Brent.” Savannah Guthrie added, “I guess the game wasn’t exciting enough.” Willie Geist: “It’s funny. A team wins its third national championship in four years and it's overshadowed by the girlfriend of the quarterback” (“Today,” NBC, 1/8). Syndicated radio host Dan Patrick said Musburger “looked at McCarron’s girlfriend and said just about everything except for, ‘Mmmmm.’” Patrick: “I did get a little creeped out. ... Give Brent credit though. He does call it like he sees it” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 1/8). CNBC’s Brian Shactman: “Take it easy, Brent, you’re on national television” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 1/8). CBS’ Gayle King said, “I think it’s so unbecoming when a grown man slobbers and drools. You wanted to say to Brent, ‘Down boy, down’” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 1/8). ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic said of Musburger, “Unfortunately, I’ve been in the booth at this point when you’re in your ‘fill material,’ and it was used on her” (“Mike and Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 1/8). McCarron this morning said Webb is “just kind of shocked” by all the attention she has received. McCarron: “She’s not the type of girl that really falls into the famous part of it. She likes staying low-key and keeping out of that … but she’s just kind of enjoying the moment right now and taking it in stride” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 1/8).

TWITTER ABUZZ: Musburger's comments drew plenty of reaction last night and today on Twitter. ESPN’s Darren Rovell wrote, “By the end of this game, there will be more modeling agents in the stands going after @_KatherineWebb than sports agents.” CSN New England’s Marc Bertrand tweeted, “From here on out, AJ McCarron's girlfriend Katherine Webb will be the best part of the game. Musburger's creepy comments will be a close 2nd.” The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham: “Katherine Webb (AJ McCarron's girlfriend) could be the new @jennifersterger. Brent kind of 'discovered' her too.” SI’s Deitsch wrote, “The age difference between Brent Musburger (ESPN announcer) and Katherine Webb (AJ McCarron's girlfreind) is 50. ... Really hoping Jesse Palmer doesn't have to apologize for Brent Musburger flirting with Katherine Webb." Newsday’s Neil Best: “Top two Google Trends Hot Searches this a.m.: 1. A.J. McCarron; 2. A.J. McCarron girlfriend."

INSTANT CELEBRITY: Webb after the game said, "My phone is dead. My followers went from 2,300 this morning to 96,000 by the end of the night. I don't know if I should even check now, I don't know what is going on. I guess (Musburger) said something but I don't know what it was because I haven't seen it." McCarron when told that Heat F LeBron James was now following Webb on Twitter said, "No way. ... I guess she's more famous than me" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/8).
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