PALM BEACH, Fla. — While Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was busy winning a national championship, his girlfriend was attracting just as much attention.
Early in Alabama’s rout of Notre Dame in Monday night’s BCS Championship Game at Sun Life Stadium, ESPN cameras locked in on Katherine Webb, McCarron’s girlfriend and the current Miss Alabama.
As did Brent Musburger. After calling her a “lovely lady,” the 73-year-old play-by-play man gushed over the brunette beauty queen wearing McCarron’s No. 10 jersey.
“You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women,” Musburger, a Jupiter, Fla., resident, said to color commentator Kirk Herbstreit. “What a beautiful woman.”
“Wow!” replied Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback.
Herbstreit: “A.J.’s doing some things right down there in Tuscaloosa.”
Musburger: “So if you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throwing it around in the backyard with Pop.”
On Tuesday afternoon, ESPN apologized for Musburger’s comments. “We always try to capture interesting storylines, and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test,” a spokesman said in a statement. “However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”
Showcasing athletes’ family members during sporting events is commonplace. Webb, 23, was sitting with members of the McCarron family, including his mother, Dee Dee Bonner.
Musburger’s comments, though, caused a social media frenzy. On Monday night, Webb’s Twitter followers rose from 2,500 to 100,000 in a matter of hours. She passed her boyfriend, who had more than 88,000 followers. Even Miami Heat star LeBron James began following her.
“Man,” McCarron said after the game. “I’m gonna tweet him and get a follow. That’s messed up. I guess she’s more famous than me.”
James wasn’t the only celebrity to take a sudden interest in Webb. Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett tweeted a phone number to her and a request to take her to a Miami gentleman’s club. Aaron Murray, quarterback of Alabama’s SEC rival Georgia, said Webb should become a Bulldogs fan.
But McCarron had the last word. He put down Murray with, “u don’t win enough” and told Dockett he’d “better worry (about) being in them playoffs.”
For her part, Webb said she was flattered and “slightly embarrassed” by the attention. She also had no issue with Musburger’s comment.
“I’ve been reading on Twitter that Musburger had backlash that he’s ‘creepy,’” she told TMZ. “If I were to see him, I would say, ‘I don’t think you’re creepy at all.’”