ESPN analyst Ed Cunningham dialed up a Michigan official on Tuesday to acknowledge a mistake he made during the game broadcast this past Saturday when the Wolverines were taking on Hawaii in Ann Arbor.
Cunningham, who was raving about the Michigan defense and the talent that makes it up, speculated that All-American cornerback Jourdan Lewis was possibly benched for disciplinary reasons, as captured here.
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“We have not seen Jourdan Lewis defensively in the first half. As I was going through my depth chart I realized we haven’t called his name because he hasn’t been on the field yet…there’s Jourdan Lewis, he is dressed, wonder if there might be a disciplinary issue in this first half.”
It’s never wise as an analyst to drop pure speculation onto a broadcast, but when you’re insinuating that a player has committed a suspension-worthy infraction with zero evidence to support your theory, that’s irresponsible.
According to The Detroit News’ Angelique S. Chengelis, Jim Harbaugh wasn’t happy about it:
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made clear at his weekly news conference on Monday he was upset over Cunningham’s comment during the game broadcast regarding Lewis’ status.
“Ed Cunningham got way out over his skis,” Harbaugh said Monday.
Harbaugh said he decided to hold out Lewis from playing in the opener against Hawaii last Saturday as he worked through a minor but nagging injury.
On his radio show Monday night, Harbaugh said he took exception to Cunningham’s comment and wanted to set the record straight at his news conference.
“Been here 21 months on the job and (Lewis) is as good as they get,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh has always been one to protect his players, which is one of the things that likely attracts recruits to Ann Arbor.
Comments like these usually tend to slip through the cracks unnoticed, but Harbaugh isn’t the type of coach to be silent about it, for better or worse.
In this case, he has a point, but good on Cunningham for reaching out to apologize and for owning the mistake, which likely didn’t come from a malicious place.
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