Penn State comment on ESPN raises questions
Just after 8:30 this morning on the West Coast, ESPN returned from a commercial break showing Penn State players who were chanting and moving rhythmically in a large circle, firing themselves up before the game.
Then, from off camera, came the words: "Where's that little kid?"
It sounded like Lee Corso's voice. Corso was with the network's GameDay crew at Stanford, but that unit was commenting on the pregame action in State College, Pa., where Penn State and Nebraska were preparing to kickoff.
Corso wasn't heard from for several minutes while others spoke with shots of Penn State coaches and players in the background.
An ESPN spokesman contacted by The Times' Diane Pucin was not aware of the incident and said he would check into it.
There might be an innocent explanation for it. But the juxtaposition of that camera shot and that off-camera remark was startling.
Someone needs to answer for it.
[UPDATE 10:15 a.m. It was Lee Corso. ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz offered this plausible explanation:
Each week, Corso announces which team he's picking in ESPN's game of the week by putting on a funky hat related to the team. This week, a charity auction was held and the winner got to hand the hat to Corso.
The winner, Krulewitz told Diane Pucin, was a child. Corso was looking for that child. His comment had nothing to do with the image ESPN cameras were carrying from Penn State.
Indeed, about 10 minutes later on ESPN's GameDay broadcast from Palo Alto, Corso reached over the back of the stage and came back with a Stanford tree hat. He was picking the Cardinal over Oregon.
So his earlier comment, it seems, was merely a shocking coincidence.]
Photo: ESPN GameDay crew (from left) Chris Fowler, Lee Corso (in headgear) and Kirk Herbstreit before a Texas-Ohio State game. Credit: ESPN.