SBD/October 14, 2013/Media

South Carolina AD Says Finebaum "Crossed The Line" In Comments About Clowney

Clowney's commitment to USC has been questioned recently by a spate of analysts
Univ. of South Carolina AD Ray Tanner believes that ESPN's Paul Finebaum last week "crossed the line" with critical comments about DE Jadeveon Clowney, according to Josh Kendall of the Columbia STATE. Finebaum called Clowney "the biggest joke in college football." Tanner said, "It was really a hateful comment. It was inappropriate. It was unprofessional, and it was unnecessary." Kendall noted ESPN hired Finebaum to "be a major part of the SEC Network's programming" when the net debuts in Aug. '14. Tanner: "My understanding is he will be a part of the network going forward, and there are 13 other ADs in the SEC, and I am not so sure they feel much differently than I feel about the situation. Analyze, investigate, speculate. I understand that from the media, but to call out a student-athlete in the fashion he did is inappropriate." Tanner said that he will "communicate his frustration" with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive (THESTATE.com, 10/12). SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote, "ESPN has been the Worldwide Leader in Jadeveon Clowney narratives over the past 12 months." Finebaum has led "a stream of ESPN analysts" questioning Clowney. Deitsch: "I personally like Finebaum a lot and I love his radio show; I also think he's been incredibly unfair to a 20-year-old kid without knowing the severity of his injuries." ESPN has "seriously played the South Carolina junior for eyeballs." ESPN's "College GameDay" crew on Saturday reported multiple times that Clowney "did not travel on the team bus to the stadium for South Carolina's game against Arkansas," but it had been reported earlier in the day Clowney "had indeed taken the bus with the team." The error proved to be "absolute nonsense on arguably ESPN's best show." ESPN's Chris Fowler repeated "the wrong information several times" before apologizing to viewers. Fowler said on-air, "We made something out of nothing. It is a non-story. We apologize for the misinformation earlier" (SI.com, 10/13).
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