Each week, multiple networks roll out a veritable smorgasbord of content surrounding their NFL games. The pre-game, post-game, and in-game halftime segments are filled with a mix of journalists and former players armed with hot takes, stats, and general commentary.
And while a few pundits may have felt the chilling effect of ESPN publicly reprimanding Jemele Hill for tweeting that President Donald Trump is a bigot and a white supremacist, Sunday found at least one set of commentators stumbling for the words to properly frame things when finally freed of the command to “stick to sports.”
“Right now, there’s not anything good that I can say that would shine a light on this to help the situation,” noted Marshall Faulk of the NFL Network. “I find myself kind of perplexed by that situation, because normally I have something to say that could right the situation and make it better. I just believe that it’s sad that our President lacks the moral compass on things to say and things to talk about when we have so much going on in our country.”
It was a serious moment for the NFL Hall of Fame running back that was eventually given some levity by viewers noticing fellow NFL Gameday pundit Michael Irvin’s fire engine red suit.
ESPN’s Bomani Jones may have won the week, after joking that Irvin was “dressed like the best receiver in bowboys history,” but there were other strong contenders.
meanwhile, michael irvin is dressed like the best receiver in bowboys history.— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) September 24, 2017
Michael Irvin stole someone's picnic table cloth and had it turned into a suit— Hempie (@DanInLimbo) September 24, 2017
Speaking of ESPN, ardent Trump supporter and former NFL head coach Rex Ryan had to eat some crow and give the boilerplate, “I’m so appalled” segment.
“I’m reading these comments, and it’s appalling to me,” Ryan said during his segment on ESPN’s NFL Countdown. “Calling our players SOB’s and all that kind of stuff, that’s not the men that I know. The men that I know in our locker room, I’m proud of. I’m proud to be associated with those people.”
Judging from his past actions, Ryan might want to dial back his use of the word “proud.” Hilarity ensued in the form of fellow ESPN commentator Randy Moss shooting Ryan the proverbial “death stare,” during his segment.
rex ryan: "i supported trump, i introduced him at a rally in buffalo"— 14TeamMocker (@14TeamMocker) September 24, 2017
randy moss, anquan boldin, and charles woodson: pic.twitter.com/uTvFwqx1hO
Randy Moss' face when Rex Ryan said "I supported Donald Trump" pic.twitter.com/DwqAw02O1q— △⃒⃘ (@ItsPaoloni) September 24, 2017
For a bit of context, while coaching the Buffalo Bills, Ryan introduced Trump at a Buffalo, New York rally leading up to the 2016 election.
“I am proud to be an acquaintance of Donald Trump,” Ryan told the Buffalo News in July. “I felt honored he asked me to speak. I’m not a politician I don’t know politics that well.”
In the case of pundits like Ryan, silence might be a preferable alternative this week.