By Joshua Huff, sports editor
ESPN’s Jason Benetti apologized in the third quarter of the Auburn vs. Tulane broadcast for his comments regarding a Rod Bramblett tribute by the Auburn student section earlier in the game.
Bramblett, the former voice of the Auburn Tigers, and his wife, Paula, were killed in a car accident in May.
“We showed the student section earlier today, and I made mention of my partner’s name, Rod Gilmore, while we were showing the letters that spelled out Rod and a heart on somebody’s chest,” Benetti said according to AL.com. “I have a number of friends that knew Rod very closely. You work long enough in the media field, and you get to know people through others. Rod was a dear person, and I apologize for putting any further sting to a death that was so important to the Auburn family. I didn’t mean that in any way, shape or form.”
Benetti made the mistake of attributing the moment in honor of co-analyst, ESPN’s Rod Gilmore, after cameras panned to Auburn’s student section with several fans spelling out “Ride for Rod.”
“They’re spelling Rod by the way,” Benetti said sparking the controversy. “That’s very nice. It’s for Rod Gilmore. They’re spelling your name. They’ve got a heart for you. I mean that’s just for you.”
The Tigers introduced a video tribute to Bramblett and his wife prior to the game.
“I am deeply sorry, and crestfallen that anyone took what I said and, rightfully so, that I said what I said without knowing what the body paint was for,” Benetti said. “Because Rod Bramblett is a dear person to so many people here. … My condolences to the Auburn family. The last thing I want to do is make this any worse for anyone who is really hurting.”