Gio Bernard

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Giovani Bernard botched a fake punt during his team’s lost to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon. That thenh led to an odd postgame exchange with reporters.

Just as he failed to handle the direct snap, Bernard failed to handle the media’s interest in one of the game’s most pivotal moments. After the Bucs squandered a 17-point lead over the Bengals and dropped their eighth game of the season, reporters approached Bernard to ask what happened on the fake punt. And he seemed confused as to why.

The 31-year-old backup running back appeared to be rankled by the fact that reporters haven’t paid much attention to him throughout the season, but were now choosing to question him after the botched punt. According to ESPN reporter Jenna Laine, Bernard responded to their questions with, “Oh, now you guys want to talk to me?”

“What have you done for us to talk to you about all year?” one reporter could be heard asking Bernard during the awkward exchange. “I talked to you Tuesday. Just don’t say you’re not talking because I didn’t talk to you all year.”

Laine reminded Bernard that he was injured for most of the season and later explained that players on Injured Reserve don’t speak to reporters. Bernard suffered an ankle injury during Week 2 of the season and was not activated from IR until Nov. 26.

Bernard looked perplexed as reporters attempted to defend their reasoning for questioning him after botching one of the most crucial plays of the game.

“Can I go to my family that I have outside?” he asked.

“You can,” another reporter answered. “Just don’t say we didn’t talk to you all year.”

Bernard eventually agreed to answer questions, admitting the play was a “miscommunication” on his part. The running back continued to smugly respond to every question with some form of “it was on me.”

“Yep, number 25 out there, that was me,” Bernard said, ignoring any specifics of the question. “I was the one that did it.”

Bernard and all athletes are put in a tough spot when they make a brutal mistake and have to answer for it while camera and microphones are shoved in front of them shortly after coming off the field. But Bernard had to know these questions were coming. And choosing to respond by criticizing reporters for not talking to him while he was on IR for 10 weeks was a bizarre strategy.

If reporters were just asking Bernard ‘how do you feel?’ after the blunder, his curt responses would have been more understandable. But they were asking important questions about the botched punt, trying to uncover whether it was a miscommunication or a physical error on his part. Considering head coach Todd Bowles claimed Bernard was aware of the fake punt, while the running back categorized it as a “miscommunication.” Reporters were just making their own attempts to get answers.

[Jenna Laine on Twitter]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to