NBC’s Cris Collinsworth made sexist comments during Wednesday’s Ravens at Steelers game about how knowledgeable women are about football.
“Everyone is a fan,” Collinsworth said in the middle of the second quarter. “Especially the ladies I met. They had really specific questions about the game. I was like, wow, just blown away by how strong the fans are here in this city. “
You can hear Collinsworth’s tone in this video:
Collinsworth may have meant his comments as a compliment when talking about the football fan culture in Pittsburgh, but his apparent genuine surprise or amazement at least masked it. It’s an obviously tired suit that women are somehow less fans than men, and Collinsworth bowed right into it on Wednesday.
The NFL has seen more female trailblazers year after year. Callie Brownson, Cleveland’s chief of staff, recently became the first female position coach in an NFL game when she stepped in for Brown’s usual tight-end coach. Sarah Thomas has been an officer in the NFL since 2015. Thomas, Brownson and Washington coaching intern Jennifer King all worked the same game earlier this season, marking the first game with a woman on the official crew member and on each coaching staff.
In the ranks of the college Sarah fuller became just the first woman to kick in a Power 5 football game when she started the second half for Vanderbilt on November 28 in Missouri, and she is the only Commodores kicker on the depth card for their season finale against SEC power Georgia.
Collinsworth received criticism earlier this season when he and his usual TV partner Al Michaels, joked about being required to wear masks during their broadcast. The 2020 season is Collinsworth’s 12th on the NBC “Sunday Night Football” crew.
The former NFL-wide receiver issued an apology Wednesday night.
“Today on our broadcast, I referred to a couple of women I met in Pittsburgh who impressed me so much with their football knowledge that I wanted to tell their story on the air,” Collinsworth wrote on Twitter. “I know how I phrased it offended many. I’m so sorry. I thought as a compliment to Pittsburgh’s fans, became an insult. I’m sick of offending any fan, but especially female fans and journalists. I know first hand, how much harder they have to work than any of us in this industry. I was wrong and apologized deeply. ”
Sorry or not, the tone on Twitter showed how people felt Collinsworth’s remarks.
So far this year, Cris Collinsworth has made fun of wearing masks and seems stunned that “ladies” know football. maybe @NFL could fill him in on their viewer demographics. He seems to be a beginner in this game.
– Ann Killion (@annkillion) December 2, 2020
Countless women enjoy and have a deep knowledge of football. Cris Collinsworth said he’s blown away that women in Pittsburgh ask specific football questions was not good.
– Chris Vannini @ (@ChrisVannini) December 2, 2020
Still shaking his head that Collinsworth was shocked that women know and watch football and that we “have specific questions about the game”. Someone please tell Cris that we have TV in the kitchen. 😏
– Annie Apple (@SurvivinAmerica) December 2, 2020
Lol on Cris Collinsworth being “blown away” that female Steelers fans exist.
– Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) December 2, 2020