Female ESPN Reporter Roasted After Saying Steelers QB Grabbed Another Player's 'Private Parts'


If you’re not really a football fan, the only Cleveland Browns player you’ve heard of in the past decade has likely been Johnny Manziel, the flamboyant quarterback who managed to drink and drug himself out of the league in record time.

That probably changed this past week when Myles Garrett, defensive end for the hapless-as-always Browns, decided to take his fight game to the next level and rip off the helmet of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and then use it to take a swing at Rudolph’s head.

Garrett was suspended indefinitely, including at least for the remainder of the 2019 season, and the only highlight — should you call it that — we’re going to be seeing of him for the next year or so will be his attempt at using Rudolph’s own helmet as a deadly weapon against the Pittsburgh quarterback. Lovely.

If you are a football fan, this is actually a pretty big deal. Garrett is a major part of the Browns’ defense and the first overall draft pick in 2017. Granted, the 4-5 Browns are probably out of contention for the playoffs, but the Texas A&M player was a Pro Bowler last year and is still expected to be a major part of Cleveland’s defense for years to come.

The mystery, therefore, is what precipitated this. Garrett isn’t known as an especially violent player — although his career has been marred by several incidents — and ripping Rudolph’s helmet off seems to be an unusual move for him. So, what gives? Well, clearly, in a situation like this, circumspection is key. You can’t just put out an ill-sourced claim and then throw up a shrug emoji when your theory turns out to be wrong.

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Or maybe you can, if you’re Josina Anderson of ESPN.

Anderson, on-air talent for ESPN for the better part of a decade, didn’t swing a helmet on Thursday night or anything like that. She’s found herself apologizing about as much as Garrett, however, after she put out two theories behind the attack.

Neither seems to be correct. Both were ill-sourced. One was a terrible analysis of game film. The other was mere conjecture in which Anderson, absent any shred of evidence, implied Rudolph was a (probably) racist who may have brought the attack on himself.

In one now-deleted tweet, Anderson posted a picture that she said showed Rudolph grabbing Garrett’s crotch.

Do you think this reporter should be suspended?

“What word would be used to describe this if an NFL player grabbed a female’s private parts in a non-consensual way? Pause,” she tweeted, according to the New York Post.

“Would that be assault? Male or female, this nonconsensual act right here is beyond invasive, provoking and wrong.”

A video appears to show, during the fight between Rudolph and Garrett, a punch that landed in the general area of Garrett’s crotch. In terms of what Anderson is describing — essentially a sexual assault — no evidence has yet been produced and Anderson’s unconvincing picture was quickly taken down along with the tweet.

But wait! We weren’t done yet.

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Huh. Garrett is black, Rudolph is white. I wonder what she could possibly be insinuating.

By the way, not only is that innuendo uncalled for, the premise behind it isn’t exactly true.

But other than that

Anderson apologized, albeit in one of those “mistakes were made” sort of constructs:

I hate to nitpick here, but I think once you accuse a player of on-field sexual assault and imply he’s a racist without a bit of backup, the ideas of being “accurate” and “fair” are tough to take seriously.  And as for the terminology: “Mistakes need to be owned, and I will own mine here” is not “I made a mistake and own it.” There’s a difference.

“Mistakes need to be owned?” Was there any confusion as to who held the deed to that error? Were the baseless accusations that Mason Rudolph sexually assaulted another player and/or possibly said something “egregious” to him that was likely racial in nature (as we’re meant to infer) sitting at the cultural lost-and-found waiting for an unknown owner to pick it up?

Anderson doesn’t apologize to Rudolph, although there are two retweets in which it’s implied Rudolph should have been suspended too. Calls for Rudolph to be suspended might not be entirely unfair; the Steelers quarterback attempted to rip off Garrett’s helmet and was a participant in the fight, not just a victim.

However, nothing in the intervening days has come out indicating anything Anderson implied had even a modicum of truth to it. Given the attention this has garnered, if any of it were accurate, one might have expected a corroborating report. Uh, nope.

The second tweet, it’s worth noting, still seems to imply there’s a racial element to this. Again: Anderson literally accused this man of being a racist and a sexual abuser. If you’re not going to apologize, at least keep his name out of your mouth.

Just so we’re clear: Mason Rudolph did something he shouldn’t have. From what we can tell, he likely punched Myles Garrett where the sun doth not shine. That being said, he isn’t a sexual abuser and no evidence has come forward he said anything racially untoward.

Furthermore, while Rudolph may not be a perfect individual in this debacle, he deserves an apology. What Anderson accused him of is so far beyond the pale as to boggle the mind.

“My goal is to always be completely accurate and fair,” Anderson wrote in her apology. Even in contrition, she failed.

If she wanted to be accurate, she could have waited for the facts. Instead, what she ended up with was Covington for adults. If she wanted to be accurate, she should have apologized to Rudolph instead of “owning” a mistake no one in their right mind would think was in the possession of someone else.

There were no heroes to come out of Thursday’s fracas. The only villain that wasn’t on the field of play, however, was Josina Anderson.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture