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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Reichley: Odd reaction to broadcaster's comments

  • There are many things that are far beyond my understanding in this life, and the subject of today's column is one.
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  • There are many things that are far beyond my understanding in this life, and the subject of today's column is one. The newest one.
    Due to a previous commitment I had to miss the first half of the BCS championship football game between Alabama and Notre Dame which decided the national championship and the top football team in the country.
    As predicted (by me) Alabama hammered the Fighting Irish. The higher the lopsided score rose, the more the ESPN television crew and announcers had to scramble to keep the several millions of college football fan viewers entertained. Unless one was a diehard Alabama fan, activities on the field were far from entertaining.
    When this happens, cameras scan the stands to focus on celebrities or other interesting fans the announcers can comment about. This was the case late in the first half, and as the camera scanned the Alabama side of the field, it focused on a gorgeous brunette.
    The announcer, Brent Musberger, 73, identified her as Katherine Webb, 23, the reigning Miss Alabama. So far so good. But he then said "Wow, I'm telling you quarterbacks: You get all the good looking women. What a beautiful woman. Wow."
    According to an Associated Press release, "Some found the remarks out of line." That prompted ESPN to release a statement the next day saying "We always try to capture interesting storylines. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that."
    I have a couple of problems with that apology. Who are the "some" who found the remarks out of line? How were they out of line? What that he said, complimenting a beauty queen, went "too far," according to ESPN? What does Musberger understand he did to offend "some"?
    I may have missed it live, but for several days it was all over TV news shows. On Megyn Kelly's Fox News America Live, she and her panel of Kirsten Powers, a gorgeous blonde and self-described women's libber, and Monica Crowley, a gorgeous blonde and avowed conservative, both agreed with Kelly, a gorgeous blonde, that there was absolutely nothing wrong with calling a beauty queen beautiful.
    None other than Bill O'Reilly replayed Musberger's comments on The Factor, and he too agreed that nothing offensive in any way was said. He jumped on ESPN for releasing an apology.
    Powers said in her opinion the complainers were women's libbers "run amok," if I recall her exact words. All three women complimented each other for being beautiful, and someone joked that they all might get in trouble.
    What in the world is this world coming to when a man can't refer to a beauty queen as "beautiful?" What do women's libbers want to hear beauty contestant winners called by men? Ugly? Homely? Unattractive?
    Page 2 of 2 - There was one unbelievable situation in what Musberger said. He identified Webb as being a graduate of Auburn (War Eagle!), and the girlfriend of AJ McCarron, Alabama's quarterback. For students of Auburn and Alabama to become close is more unbelievable to those from the state of Alabama or anywhere in the SEC than someone calling a beautiful woman beautiful.
    Auburn and Alabama are like oil and water, like dirt and soap, and like any other total opposites one can name. For someone to take off on that topic is most believable, and expected, and normal for those from the state of Alabama.
    If a women's libber out there can explain this to me, I'm all ears.
    John Reichley is a retired Army officer and retired Department of the Army civilian employee.
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