ESPN Denies Ben Watson Was Offended By On-Air Comment: Watson’s Tweet Suggests Otherwise

We've got some ESPN-ESPN crime going on at the worldwide leader. A seemingly harmless joke made Saturday on-air appears to have offended former NFL tight end-turned-analyst Ben Watson. Studio host Peter Burns played the role of jokester leading to an awkward exchange with Watson on-air. Multiple tweets followed, along with an attempt from ESPN to sweep it under the rug.

At halftime of the Western Kentucky - Auburn snooze fest that aired on ESPN's SEC Network, Burns pointed out that Watson was the only member of the four studio hosts not wearing a dark blue suit. Watson instead opted for light blue. The 41-year old former NFL player then held up his cellphone and said: "As long as I get a text from my wife that says I look good (that's all I care about)."

Burns quickly followed with a one-liner that was so commonly a part of the script in most '80s movies and often delivered by the film's hotshot.

"It’s not the she sent me," joked Burns.

Watson And Burns Were Joined On Set By Chris Doering And Takeo Spikes

All things considered, Burns' joke was relatively mild and all four men on set seemed to laugh off the quip. But if Will Smith's Oscar's slap taught us anything, it's that you don't joke about a man's wife on live TV.

Plenty of eyebrows were raised shortly after the Burns-Watson exchange. And it didn't take long for social media to get a sense that Watson wasn't exactly thrilled with Burns' impromptu open mic night performance. Suspicions were further raised when the show returned from a post-joke commercial break and both Burns and Watson were absent from the set.

On Saturday evening OutKick reached out to ESPN to gauge the room. Bristol wasted little time insisting it was all a "bit." If accurate, Saturday's SEC Network halftime performance likely registers as the worst-scripted ESPN drama since Playmakers.

"Entire thing was a performance bit. Benjamin 100% deserves an Emmy nomination," Amanda Brooks, ESPN Director, College Football & SEC Network, wrote in part.

Watson Joined ESPN's SEC Network In 2021

Though ESPN brushed off the Burns-Watson moment as a "bit" and Burns later posted a photo of he and Watson to Twitter, it would seem as if Watson wasn't necessarily down with the message ESPN was pushing.

"Moving on. But you still owe Mrs Watson a public apology," tweeted Watson.

As of this writing, no such public apology has been made from Burns to Mr. or Mrs. Watson. When asked this morning if Watson's tweet was in fact a bit or if he was sincere in seeking an apology, ESPN's Brooks reiterated that: "As I shared last night with Dan, it was all a bit."

Still, plenty of people, including OutKick's Clay Travis clearly believe that ESPN is covering this up. 

"ESPN is 100% lying about this being a planned bit," Travis tweeted earlier today. "Ben Watson was legit pissed about a relatively minor joke here from Peter Burns. Watch for yourselves. No one gains if this is a stunt. And Watson’s Tweet shows how pissed he was:"

Clay's right. Why would the worldwide leader in liberalism script a joke wrapped in sexual innuendo about a man's wife? A network that can't wait to veer away from sports in order to pour its opinions down your throats about who should be offended next and why (generally outside of sports), suddenly identifies as comedic relief, at the expense of a host's wife?

Something's fishy in Bristol and it has nothing to do with the cafeteria.

OutKick has asked for Watson to comment via ESPN, but we have not yet received a response. Additionally, OutKick tweeted ESPN's statement this morning and tagged Watson, asking if he's still seeking an apology. As of the time of this publication, Watson had not yet tweeted to respond.

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