Jason McIntyre called Joel Embiid "soft" after Chris Broussard listed his injuries, migraines, and Bell's palsy. Jason McIntyre called Joel Embiid “soft” after Chris Broussard listed his injuries, migraines, and Bell’s palsy. (@HauserBrett on X/Twitter.)

TV pundits don’t always talk about players’ injuries in the most respectful manner, and that often draws some fire. But what seems to go beyond that still is when pundits criticize ongoing conditions athletes have. That seemed to be the case with a Chris Broussard-Jason McIntyre discussion on FS1/Fox Sports Radio’s The Herd Wednesday.

There, McIntyre was criticizing Philadelphia 76ers’ center Joel Embiid’s play in a series loss to the New York Knicks in April. In response to that, Broussard brought up the injuries Embiid was dealing with at the time and also the Bell’s palsy he suffers from. And McIntyre offered a “Soft” right after Broussard mentioned Bell’s palsy:

“We know his lower extremities were not 100 percent. He had migraine headaches. He had Bell’s palsy.” “Soft.”

That sparked a lot of debate there, with many taking this as a direct reaction to the Bell’s palsy comment, but others saying it was in reference to Broussard’s previous comment on migraines. And the latter is also believable. If that was McIntyre’s intention, though, that shows the perils of interjecting before someone finishes their point. And calling an athlete “soft” over migraines carries problems too.

There’s a larger discussion to be had around pundits’ takes on player injuries and health conditions, and McIntyre certainly isn’t the only one who’s taken some fire there over the years. And, as noted, the particular “soft” here might not have been specifically about the Bell’s palsy despite that coming right before this in the conversation. But this still seemed to be going a little far;  McIntyre easily could have responded to Broussard’s discussion of Embiid’s injuries and health conditions with something like “That’s fine, but I don’t think he’s a top player even when healthy” without provoking any controversy, but instead decided to offer a “soft.”

[@HauserBrett on X/Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.