SEC Network host Peter Burns tweeted a public apology after making a joke about the wife of his co-analyst Benjamin Watson on-air Saturday afternoon.
At halftime of the Florida Gators matchup with the Vanderbilt Commodores, the SEC Network studio crew began analyzing their own suit choices. During the light-hearted conversation, Watson said he doesn’t care what his co-hosts think of his outfit choice, “as long as I get a text from my wife that says that I look good.” Burns quickly interjected and made things a little awkward when he said, “That’s not the one she sent me,” generating some oohs and aahs from the rest of the crew.
? Not sure if this just turned into a random bit, but Benjamin Watson looks legit upset that Peter Burns made a joke about his wife. pic.twitter.com/XxLvhgrnx5
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) November 19, 2022
The halftime show went to commercial and when they returned, Burns remained off camera as Watson walked back into the studio looking rather heated.
“Did you have him keep your wife’s name out of his mouth?” host Chris Doering asked Watson with reference to the infamous Will Smith-Chris Rock incident. “We’ll see how Peter Burns is with that smart mouth,” Doering added as the halftime show came to an end.
Later in the day, Burns tweeted a photo with Watson, adding the caption, “#Friendship.” Watson quote tweeted the post with “Moving on. But you still owe Mrs. Watson a public apology.”
Moving on. But you still owe Mrs Watson a public apology. https://t.co/nNASqU5A6P
— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) November 20, 2022
That public apology came more than two days after the incident and almost exactly 48 hours after Watson requested it.
While it was an joke, the truth is that I crossed the line, you should never joke about family so that I owe a public apology to Ben & Kirsten 100%.@BenjaminSWatson couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class.
We all good & proud to call him a friend & coworker https://t.co/dPw7VdPcaX
— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsESPN) November 22, 2022
“While it was a joke, the truth is that I crossed the line, you should never joke about family, so that I owe a public apology to Ben & Kirsten 100%. @BenjaminSWatson couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class. We all good & proud to call him a friend & coworker.”
After the initial incident, Outkick reached out to ESPN and was told the entire confrontation was a “performance bit,” claiming Watson “100% deserves an Emmy nomination.”
While Burns remaining off-air as Watson walked back into the studio with a tense look on his face appeared to be a bit that was planned during the commercial break, the initial joke seemed unscripted. And the apology from Burns confirms that.