Since when is being called “beautiful” offensive?

We watched the Notre Dame vs. Alabama game over at a friend’s house Monday night. We noticed ESPN zooming in on one particular woman in the crowd, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb.


The former Miss Alabama USA competitor and avid fan was seen cheering her man on while the commentators, well, had a hard time keeping their comments focused on the game.

At one point, ESPN announcer Brent Musberger, 73, said “You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women.”

Then, “What a beautiful woman. Wow!” Analyst Kirk Herbstreit followed by saying McCarron must be doing something right before offering his own “Wow!”

And then the storm broke.

According to, Webb, who originally had 2,300 followers on twitter had close to 140,000 by Tuesday morning. The site says the “brunette beauty was also a top search on Google.”

Boyfriend McCarron told Yahoo! Sports, “Hey, I guess she’s more famous than me.”

Musberger was immediately criticized for his comments, saying that what he said about Webb was borderline inappropriate and that he may have taken it “too far.” ESPN even issued an apology to Webb saying:

“We always try to capture interesting storylines 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.”


Since when is calling a woman beautiful taking things too far? I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone would think Musberger’s comments were offensive. Including Webb herself, who told Matt Lauer on Today the next morning:

“I think the media has been really unfair to (Musburger). I think if he had said something along the line if we were hot or sexy, I think that would be a little bit different. The fact that he said we were beautiful and gorgeous, I don’t think any woman wouldn’t be flattered by that. I appreciate it, but at the same time I don’t think I needed an apology.”

The “we” Webb was referring to was McCarron’s mother who was seated beside her.

I agree with Webb. Hearing you’re a beautiful woman should bring nothing but a smile to your face.

And she is, after all.

What did you think of Musberger’s comments? Why do you think ESPN offered an apology? How long do you think Webb will ride this new fame wave? (Hint: she’s already been asked by Trump to be a judge at the next Miss USA pageant in Vegas.)



  1. Dan Bigelow

    Regarding your assumption, “I’m assuming by “we” she humbly meant “me.”

    Katherine Webb purposely used the word “we” instead of “I” when she said, “I think if he had said something along the line if we were hot or sexy, I think that would be a little bit different. The fact that he said we were beautiful and gorgeous….”

    She said “we” because Musberger and Herbstreit had commented on both Webb and McCarron’s mom, Dee Dee Bonner (who were sitting together) during their commentary.

  2. Marilyn Goodworth

    The “other” beautiful woman referred to by Musberger and Ms Webb was the quarterback’s mother. Certainly, both meet ladies the criteria.

    No offense was intended. No offense was taken. ESPN’s response is either overly cautious or their own thoughts were less appropriate.

  3. Pete1215

    Imagine that. Calling the participant of beauty pageants beautiful. I get offended by people’s propensity to get offended.

  4. Mick

    At the time I felt his gushing was a litle excessive. Super-telephoto lenses
    combined with less than the best taste in comments can be too intrusive.
    Her privacy (yes, we are allowed that in public) was invaded.

  5. The Rock

    I work for Boeing. If you tell a woman that she is pretty you can get fired for sexual harassment. I just tell them they have cooties and to stay away because I am highly allergic.

    Always good for a laugh.

  6. Come On Man

    RIDICULOUS! It’s hard to be shocked any more at the PC world we live in. This was a sporting event and the commentators made a funny comment in a boring football game and the PC crowd starts screaming. Come On Man!

  7. Veronica

    What people may have found so offensive about the comments, is that one of the men said “You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women.” That implies that only women who look like beauty pageant queens are good-looking… but that’s just unrealistic. And quite frankly, I can appreciate the fact that she works out and knows how to wear makeup, but -for crying out loud- she looks like a carrot!!! These sorts of stories and comments move us backward in the push to appreciate average-looking women, or even gorgeous women who don’t fit *that* stereotype.

  8. robin

    The ‘we’ she was referring to included her boyfriend’s mother, who she was sitting next to, who was also referred to as beautiful. Nothing offensive there!

  9. Leah

    It has become “the norm” to apologize for everything said or done in today’s society. It seems everyone is offended by nearly everything, anyone does…all the time. I would think that ESPN figured they’d best quickly and publicly apologize just in case their commentator offended someone.
    Out society doesn’t follow the “majority rule” any longer. One person can dislike something and if they make enough noise over it….they will win. This isn’t how things were in the past. The majority of the population generally maintained and controlled how things happened. No longer….remember the one lady that decided she didn’t want prayers in schools? She got a lawyer, gathered some other like-minded people…and shortly there after…prayers were no longer allowed or tolerated in most schools. It went downhill from there and today it seems that society is so apologetic and afraid of offending anyone that the majority doesn’t matter anymore! We need to reclaim our majority rule in this country. It frightens me to think that sometime in the near future, our rights, as we know them, are going to be taken away…little by little…until we have zero control of anything and the government will be telling us how to live, taking our right to bear arms away from us, telling us what doctors we can or cannot see,etc. It’s isn’t that farfetched…I pray that the American public realizes that something needs to be done right away.

  10. shawnm750

    It’s sad that society’s gotten to the point that commentators can’t even compliment a person without their network having to offer an apology. Aside from calling plays, commentators are paid to offer their opinions. Musberger simply offered that opinion about one of the spectators. I’ve heard other commentators say borderline derogatory comments about people dressed up in the stands for which networks have never offered apologies (probably because no one knew their names, and the person probably thought nothing of it.) We can thank twitter, google and the Internet in general for inflating this WAY beyond what it needed to be. I guarantee ESPN wouldn’t have issued any kind of apology had Ms. Webb’s presence at the game not so publicized.

    It’s sad that we can’t compliment other people without it being blown out of proportion. It’s made us less courteous and friendly as a society… 8^\

  11. tigger

    Interesting. I heard the comments, along with my husband and 33 year old son. We were all surprised by them. To comment on one’s beauty is one thing but to go on and on making comments as to why the “quarterbacks always get the beautiful ones” was objectifying the woman and very telling of Mussburger. It made him sound creepy. His comment did not sound like a compliment to her but more of remark about the football players conquest.

  12. Jason

    When I saw this, I had to rewind it because it’s an unusual occurrence for a commentator to be that vocal…and the fact that he’s 73 was kinda creepy.

  13. renae

    It isn’t that the comment about her being beautiful is an issue. Musberger just couldn’t say it enough. He was obsessing about her. He was creepy. I’m surprised he didn’t follow her home.

  14. Andy

    Oh come now, he didn’t just say she was beautiful which would be fine. He was going on and on with it to the point where I’m just thinking “okay settle down tiger…”.

  15. John

    As soon as it happened, I said that ESPN would be apologizing for it, and rightfully so. If you read the transcript, it’s not that bad. But if you heard it live, the way he said it and the way he kept saying “WOW” and how long he dragged it on were definitely strange and in my view inappropriate. I feel most PC talk is undeserving, but I would say that those who have commented here that actually heard it live, have agreed it was at least weird and a bit creepy.

  16. Ryan

    Depending on inflection and context, I could see interpreting “beautiful” as being more lascivious than normal and maybe offensive. But the key element is whether Katherine Webb herself felt that the comment was disrespectful or not. And she clearly doesn’t. We live in a world that is overly sensitive to possible offense. Sure, don’t carelessly offend others, or (when offense is warranted) don’t overdo it. But to have so much of the media corps jump to shoot down a comment where no offense was intended and none was taken? That’s ridiculous.

  17. Chris

    Give me a break! I heard it LIVE too, and ANYONE offended at being told they are “beautiful” or receives a “WOW” comment, regardless of the age of the person saying it, needs to stay locked up in their home. Are we supposed to believe now that women only workout and wear make-up, jewelry and nice clothes to flatter themselves–or do they do it to impress themselves AND others too? There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with looking your best, and being complimented for it. Someone needs to “disarm” the PC Police and “arrest” the Offended. (OOps, I’ve probably offended someone with that last remark.)

  18. Joe

    There was nothing inappropriate about it. There is nothing wrong with saying a woman is beautiful. Quit being so overly sensitive!! Good grief!

  19. Jan

    If Mssrs. Musberger and Herbstreit have wives,then, yes, they were completely inappropriate. How hurtful to a wife to hear her husband make a comment like that so publically and with such emphasis. Saying she´s beautiful is one thing, but making such a big deal out of it is another. Beauty is only one aspect of a woman´s soul; hopefully Miss Webb has many other beautiful qualities, as all women do.

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