Longtime sports play-by-play commentator Al Michaels has apologized after making an off-color joke during NBC’s broadcast of Sunday Night Football game between the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants.
Attempting to characterize the Giants’ 0-5 start and multiple key injuries, Michaels remarked during the third quarter that the team was “coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein,” a reference to the explosive sexual assault allegations that face the powerful movie producer. Multiple Hollywood actresses have come out about Weinstein making inappropriate comments or advances, and in some cases attempting to keep them quiet by threatening their careers or offering cash payments.
Obviously, that joke was in incredibly taste. You just don’t compare decades of institutional sexual misconduct to a few football players nursing injuries.
The backlash was immediate, especially on social media.
Notice that even in Al Michaels' bad joke, it is that Harvey Weinstein who had a bad week, not his rape victims who had a bad everything.
— Donald J Orwell (@DonaldJOrwell) October 16, 2017
Did Al Michaels just say the Giants were having a worse week than Harvey Weinstein? Dude, does ANYONE think before speaking? #NYGvsDEN
— Paul Seiler (@SeilerTweets) October 16, 2017
Did Al Michaels just really say that?
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) October 16, 2017
Way to make light of a serial sexual assaulter, Al Michaels. Already know NFL doesn't give a shit about women, thanks for cementing it.
— Spillygirl (@borken_cookie) October 16, 2017
Word clearly got to Michaels that the joke wasn’t exactly going over very well, as he issued an on-air apology:
“Sorry, I made a reference earlier before, was trying to be a little flip about somebody obviously very much in the news all over the country, and it was not meant in that manner,” he said during the fourth quarter. “So my apologies and we’ll just leave it at that.”
NBC have not officially commented on Michael’s mishap, but it seems unlikely he will face any discipline from the network. Hopefully, though, he will choose his words more carefully next time.