SEC Network, an ESPN property, made an awkward blunder during Saturday’s game between Arkansas and Auburn. It used an incredibly incorrect photo of quarterback K.J. Jefferson.
With six minutes left in the third quarter, the visiting Razorbacks took a 24-13 lead over the Tigers after Jefferson connected with Jadon Haselwood for an easy touchdown over the middle. It was his second passing touchdown of the day and it added to his impressive stat-line, which was highlighted by a violent stiff-arm and vicious celebration.
To emphasize Jefferson’s strong outing, the broadcast cut to a shot of the massive, 6-foot-3, 243-pound signal-caller on the sideline. It was pretty standard graphic and the stats was correct.
However, there was one glaring issue. The photo that it used next to Jefferson’s name was…
… not Jefferson.
SEC Network mistook one African-American quarterback for another, who was completely unrelated to the game at hand.
It wasn’t even close, actually. SEC Network used a photo of Shedeur Sanders. Shedeur, the son of Deion, is the starting quarterback for his dad’s Jackson State program. He does not play in the SEC. He does not play for Arkansas. He is not K.J. Jefferson.
People in the production truck are moving quickly and mistakes happen all the time. It is also very possible that the ESPN graphic team had JSU on its mind. College GameDay was in Mississippi on Saturday morning and Shedeur is a big reason that his top-10 FCS team is undefeated in 2022.
With that being said, it was an egregious error to mistake one for the other.
Jefferson and Sanders look nothing alike and the latter was not even playing in the game. He wasn’t even part of a national ESPN broadcast and shouldn’t have been part of the conversation on The Plains.
It was a brutal look for SEC Network. In turn, it was also a bad look for the ‘Worldwide Leader In Sports.’