Malike Andrews Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We wondered, leading up to Thursday night’s NBA Draft, whether ESPN would address the elephant in the room, acknowledging the controversy surrounding Alabama forward Brandon Miller, whose role in a murder investigation dominated the news cycle for weeks on end.

Cleared of wrongdoing, Miller was not charged with any crime. However, his proximity to teammate Darius Miles on the night Jamea Jonae Harris was fatally shot (the alleged murder weapon, which belonged to Miles, was retrieved from Miller’s car hours earlier) raised questions, casting a dark cloud over Alabama’s March Madness run.

Obviously, the Charlotte Hornets, who drafted Miller with the second overall pick, weren’t concerned about it, though it felt like only a matter of time until someone on ESPN’s panel brought it up. That someone turned out to be Malika Andrews, who mentioned the scandal in passing during Thursday night’s broadcast.

Andrews would later become the subject of harsh online criticism, with many viewers feeling it was unnecessary to pick at that scab, rehashing a painful incident from Miller’s past that, by all accounts, wasn’t his fault.

Of course, the counterargument would be that Andrews, as a credentialed reporter, had a journalistic responsibility to broach the subject in at least some capacity. It’s also not fair to single her out when ABC devoted just as much coverage to it, presenting the following graphic with a detailed explanation from Kevin Negandhi.

It should be noted that, unlike Neghandi, Andrews’ comments were made during the pre-draft show and not during the actual event. That detail may seem trivial, though it’s an important distinction, with Andrews careful not to spoil Miller’s “moment.”

Miller doesn’t have to let this experience define him and neither does ESPN, though sweeping it under the rug would have been disingenuous, ignoring a story that arguably shaped the 2022-23 college basketball season.

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.