In May, Auburn play-by-play man Rod Bramblett and his wife Paula were killed in a car accident. Auburn played their first home football game since the tragedy on Saturday against Tulane, and paid tribute to Rod and Paula with a video before the game.

The game was shown on ESPN2, with Jason Benetti (play-by-play) and Rod Gilmore (color commentator) on the call.

In the second quarter, the broadcast camera focused on the Auburn student section, featuring students that had “Ride Rod” painted across their chest. That was in honor of Rod Bramblett.

However, when Benetti saw the “Ride for Rod” students, he joked that it was in reference to his broadcast partner, Rod Gilmore.

“They’re spelling Rod by the way. That’s very nice. It’s for Rod Gilmore. They’re spelling your name. They’ve got a heart for you. That’s just for you. Beautiful.”

Many viewers immediately tweeted about the awkward moment (and clear misunderstanding).

In the third quarter, Benetti issued a heartfelt apology:

“We showed the student section earlier today, and I made mention of my partner’s name, Rod Gilmore, while we were showing the letters that spelled out Rod and a heart on somebody’s chest. The day Rod (Bramblett) died… I have a number of friends who knew Rod very closely. You work long enough in the media field, and you get to know people through others. And Rod was a dear person, and I apologize for putting any further sting into a death that was so important to the Auburn family. I didn’t mean that in any way, shape, or form.”

“I am deeply sorry, and crestfallen that anyone took what I said and, rightfully so, that I said what I said without knowing what the body paint was for. Because Rod Bramblett is a dear person to so many people here. And so, my condolences to the Auburn family. The last thing I want to do is make this any worse for people who are really hurting.”


About Matt Clapp

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