ESPN’s College GameDay faced some rarely seen scrutiny over the past couple days as they promoted not just one, but two signs that were insensitive from Tuscaloosa.
The first read, “Ole Miss girls are easier than their out of conference schedule.” This sign made it on television and was immediately slammed by Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit as inappropriate. It even drew nationwide attention for the vulgar message displayed.
The second featured a picture of Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and was a crack at Urban Meyer’s health scare in 2009 and read, “If this crap keeps up.. I’m gonna fake a heart attack and go join the Big 10.” This sign won GameDay’s most RT’d “and appropriate” sign and was promoted as such on social media. The Meyer family took issue with ESPN and called GameDay classless for doing so.
On Monday ESPN deleted both signs from the College GameDay Twitter account after leaving them up through the weekend and initially defending its promotion of the Ole Miss sign. The network then finally decided to issue this apology:
You never solve anything in the digital conversation by just hitting delete. We apologize. We’re going to be better. pic.twitter.com/dIvTmXzVW2
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 21, 2015
ESPN can’t control the fact that people are going to make dumb signs that cross the line. They can control what signs they televise and promote and deem appropriate, though. This weekend was a pretty obvious lapse in judgment. Hopefully the network learns from it and the awesome GameDay experience and all those creative signs that are funny without being totally offensive (yes, it can be done America!) can live on unfettered.