Scott Van Pelt and Rome Odunze

Anyone who has watched the Washington Huskies play this season knows wide receiver Rome Odunze’s first name is pronounced like the famous Italian city.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt certainly knows that’s the correct pronunciation, but he whiffed on the name during SportsCenter highlights after Washington’s win over Texas in the Sugar Bowl Monday night.

A highlight from late in the game showed Odunze making a beautiful catch, and Van Pelt commenting, “It’s Rom-ay Odunze, one of the spectacular wide-outs for the Huskies …”

Odunze commented on the mistake Wednesday, noting on X/Twitter, “Romay?? Odunzo?? 🤣🤣 At this point I think I’ve been saying my own name wrong.”

That tweet sparked a heartwarming and lighthearted back-and-forth exchange between Van Pelt and Odunze as SVP apologized for the error.


“No worries Scott🤣 It’s been fun hearing all the variations!” Odunze replied.

“Rome…it’s my job to not mangle names. Particularly someone as good as you,” Van Pelt responded. “That said, who screws up your first name and gets your last and right? This dumbass. Congrats on the win and enjoy Monday.”

The contrition shows why a lot of fans love Scott Van Pelt and Odunze had a message for everyone following the conversation.

“I hope none of y’all taking this too seriously … If my name still isn’t pronounced right it just means I haven’t done enough! See you the 8th,” he said.

It’s not the first time a star player for Washington had his name mispronounced this year as Desmond Howard did it for Michael Penix Jr. for a “Big Penix Energy” skit that the quarterback wasn’t a fan of, according to Robert Griffin III.

Odunze and the Huskies will play the Michigan Wolverines in the CFP National Championship game Monday night. After that, he projects as a possible top-10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Oh, as far as the similarity between Odunze’s name and the Italian city, turns out, he was named after Rome. He told reporters in 2023 that his father is a huge history buff who admired the Roman Empire.

“I love my name,” Odunze said (via Huskies social media).

[Rome Odunze]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.