PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 05: Broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit speaks onstage during the “BCS Title Game” panel at the ESPN portion of the 2011 Winter TCA press tour held at the Langham Hotel on January 5, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Questioning whether or not a football player is injured is some muddy territory to tread upon these days. You just never know what someone might be experiencing after a collision or tangle-up. Barring additional information, we can usually only go by what we see. That obviously applies to broadcasters as well.

During Saturday’s Oklahoma-Baylor game, ABC’s Kirk Herbstreit went by what he saw, which was Baylor safety Terrell Burt go down to the ground upon being told by teammate Ryan Reid. It looked as if a healthy player was suddenly faking an injury to stop play, and that’s exactly how Herbstreit called it. Here’s video of the play in question.

“That was a called injury by Baylor’s Ryan Reid, No. 9,” said Herbstreit. “He told Burt, ‘You’re supposed to be hurt. Go down.’ I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”

Herbstreit went on to say Burt was faking a limp off the field, calling his behavior “awful” and “Bush league.” Play-by-play man Chris Fowler asked at one point whether it was possible that Burt was really hurt, but Herbstreit stuck by what he said, based on seeing the safety lined up to play defense.

Well… as it turns out, Burt really was hurt, suffering an ankle injury during the kickoff beginning that particular offensive drive for Oklahoma. After going through two plays on that ankle, he was finally told to go down by Reid so he could get off the field. Burt did return to the game during that drive, missing about three minutes while his ankle was re-taped.

But on Sunday, Baylor trainer Mike Sims told reporters that Burt’s ankle was “sore and swollen.” Upon learning that Burt was, in fact, hurt during Saturday night’s game, Herbstreit took to Twitter and apologized for his remarks.

It was certainly an unusual play, and to be fair, Herbstreit was using the information presented to him visually. And defensive players have faked injury to slow down no-huddle and hurry-up offenses before. But sometimes, there might be a good reason for something that a broadcaster has “never seen” before.

At least Herbstreit apologized upon learning he was wrong, though far more people surely heard his remarks on television than saw his apology on Twitter.

[Associated Press]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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