Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris recently helped renovate a homeless shelter where he spent time as a child. To follow up on the story, ESPN’s Monday Night Football commentator Steve Levy told viewers that Harris was so used to living homeless that he continued to sleep on the floor while attending the University of Alabama.
“Even when he got to Alabama on a full ride, got the fancy dorm room, he spent the first few months in Alabama sleeping on the floor,” Levy said of Harris. “He said he’s just more comfortable, more used to that.”
We had assumed Harris revealed this information to Levy and the crew in pregame meetings. However, Harris tweeted that there is no truth to ESPN’s report immediately following the game. Meaning, the story didn’t come from Harris.
“Bra I ain’t sleep on no dam floor in college,” Harris tweeted. “I slept on my bed.”
Najee Harris basically saying the crew made this whole thing up lmaooo pic.twitter.com/1JZstKlBeY
— Chris Williamson (@CWilliamson44) November 9, 2021
Quite the awkward moment. So, where did Levy get this information? Clearly, he felt confident enough to divulge the story on-air to over 10 million viewers.
Perhaps, Levy mixed up Najee Harris with Josh Jacobs, another former Alamaba running back. Bleacher Report reported the following in 2018:
“When he arrived at Alabama, Josh Jacobs spent his first few months sleeping on the floor in his dorm room. Not because he didn’t have a bed. But because after years of sleeping on couches, on motel floors and in the back seat of his father’s maroon Chevy Suburban, he was more comfortable there.”
That matches Levy’s story, line-for-line.
Further, ESPN’s broadcast booth failed to pronounce Harris’ name correctly while reporting inaccurate information on him.
“Y’all mess up my name and y’all say that stuff smh bet,” Harris then tweeted.
This is what happens when ESPN doesn’t air the ManningCast opposite the main booth. Without the Mannings, people pay attention to the Levy-Griese-Riddick broadcast, one that’s undoubtedly not up to standard. And now we know which MNF broadcast Najee Harris prefers: the same as the rest of the country.
UPDATE: Steve Levy apologizes to Najee Harris:
I got this part wrong Najee, my mistake. Your story is inspirational & mission to positively impact is admirable.
I’ll be donating to the Da' Bigger Picture Foundation and encourage others to help Najee’s greater purpose where they can.https://t.co/GlbxzRfXSD
— Steve Levy (@espnSteveLevy) November 9, 2021