An ESPN announcer is in hot water after calling the death of a Louisiana State University football coach’s daughter-in-law a “distraction” during the College Football Playoff semifinal in Atlanta on Saturday.
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Matt Barrie faced widespread criticism from viewers for the comment, with many taking to social media to condemn the ESPN announcer.
“Certainly our thoughts and prayers with coach and his family, as he gets to do his job and try to put away the distraction of losing his daughter-in-law just hours before kickoff,” Barrie said on air during the LSU Tigers' semifinal playoff game against the Oklahoma Sooners.
Louisiana sports reporter Carley McCord, the daughter-in-law of Tigers offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, was killed Saturday morning in a plane crash that left five dead, just hours before the Peach Bowl game between LSU and Oklahoma began.
McCord had boarded a flight from Lafayette, Louisiana, and was en route to the Peach Bowl when the plane crashed into a post office shortly after takeoff.
Viewers tweeted en masse regarding Barrie’s comment on McCord’s tragic and untimely passing, with many criticizing the ESPN announcer for what they called an insensitive and inappropriate comment.
“I know your job is to talk about the game but in moments like these is when your humanity should kick in,” Saints cornerback Eli Apple’s mother tweeted. “Death of his daughter in law is not ‘a distraction.’ Just say ‘Ensminger will be coaching with a heavy heart today.’ Producers, help dude fix this.”
“'Try and put away the distraction of losing his daughter-in-law'?!? Jesus ESPN can we not categorize the loss of human life, especially one that’s family, as a 'distraction'? Come on…” football fan James Niemeyer tweeted.
Meanwhile, NHL beat writer Adam Gretz wrote: “No idea who this dude on the ESPN pregame show is but I think he just said ‘Put away the distraction of losing his daughter-in-law …’ I mean … what the hell.”
Barrie joined ESPN’s "SportsCenter" in 2013 and hosts the ESPN college football pregame and halftime shows alongside Joey Galloway and Jesse Palmer. The sportscaster has won 11 Emmy awards and three Edward R. Murrow journalism awards, according to his ESPN biography page.