NBC’s Cris Collinsworth, one of America’s most prominent NFL analysts, has said he feels “sick” after apparently suggesting he was amazed that women understand the game.
During Wednesday’s broadcast of the Steelers-Ravens game, Collinsworth mentioned he had talked to Pittsburgh fans earlier in the day. “Everybody’s a fan,” Collinsworth said. “In particular the ladies that I met. They have really specific questions about the game. I’m like wow, just blown away …”
Collinsworth’s comments drew immediate backlash, and he issued an apology after the game.
“Today on our broadcast I made reference to a couple of women that I met in Pittsburgh who so impressed me with their football knowledge that I wanted to tell their story on the air,” he said. “I know the way I phrased it insulted many. I’m so sorry.”
“What I intended as a compliment to the fans of Pittsburgh, became an insult. I’m sick about insulting any fan, but especially female fans and journalists.”
The 61-year-old Collinsworth has worked closely with several prominent female NFL journalists, including Michele Tafoya and Andrea Kremer. In his apology, he acknowledged the sexism that is present in sports. “I know first hand how much harder they have to work than any of us in this industry,” he said. “I was wrong and I deeply apologize.”
Collinsworth played eight years with the Cincinnati Bengals before starting his broadcasting career and is one of the most familiar voices in the NFL.
NBC has not said whether it will discipline Collinsworth for his comments.