The pre-game NBA Countdown on ABC took an odd turn ahead of Game Five Monday when Michelle Beadle started introducing the panel. After she did that, Jalen Rose started commenting on her outfit, and things got pretty weird:
“You’ve been dressing really nice and professional lately,” Rose said, while Chauncey Billups chimed in “You’ve been showing up.” Beadle then said “Y’all are making me feel like I look like garbage. I’m sick of this.” Rose responded “It’s the way you dress during the red carpet, the Emmys and the Grammys, you stepped up your game. I’m complimenting you.” Beadle shot back “I’m out of laundry.”
Later, reporter Doris Burke took an apparent shot at Rose and Billups:
“And Michelle, I’m not sure what those guys are talking about in terms of your attire. All I know is that I see a rose between several thorns there. Back to you.”
Rose’s comments got some criticism on social media:
Jalen Rose walking the line between compliment & sexism with Michelle Beadle.
— ㅤJonathan Moore (@iCANBEMOORE) June 13, 2017
But Burke drew some praise, including from ESPN colleague Julie Stewart-Binks:
Love Doris Burke having Michelle Beadle's back when the guys were razzing her. ???#futureisfemale
— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) June 13, 2017
There’s always some joking around on pre-game shows, but Rose’s comments felt a little weird and a little over the line. Talking about female colleagues’ appearance or outfits hasn’t often gone well for those at ESPN, including Tony Kornheiser’s two-week suspension for (much worse) comments about Hannah Storm’s wardrobe. Rose’s comments aren’t in that vicinity, but talking on-air about female colleagues’ outfits doesn’t usually end well, and it’s problematic given how many comments about their appearance women in sports broadcasting already have to deal with. At the very least, this made for some uncomfortable TV.