Jason Witten under fire for referring to NFL changes as ‘left wing’
ESPN is trying to get out of politics. On “Monday Night Football,” analyst Jason Witten might have put them back there.
The former Dallas Cowboys tight end has received criticism after saying the NFL’s controversial roughing the passer rule has gone “a little to the left wing” during Monday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here is Witten’s comment in full context, per Pro Football Talk:
Its just gone too far with that rule, ESPNs Jason Witten said regarding the NFLs enhanced emphasis on roughing the passer. I knew they wanted to make it about the health and safety and protect these quarterbacks. It just seems like we just went alittle bit to the left wingon that, you know, with our approach of trying to protect it because as we said not only are the players frustrated but the coaches, they dont know how to coach this. Thats when you have a challenge with this rule. Found the clip. Heres Witten calling the roughing the passer rule change left wing pic.twitter.com/htLzeRcm79 Conor Orr 🇦🇶 (@ConorOrr) September 25, 2018
In a statement to Philly.com, the network defended Witten, saying the comment had “nothing to do with politics.”
But that didn’t stop others from blasting Witten, who’s in his first yearas an announcer, on Twitter:
Jason Witten has been so bad in the booth for MNF, but he just called all the roughing the passer penalties... too left wing... get this man off the air IMG_4346.jpeg (@Austin_Nar) September 25, 2018
Oh @JasonWitten, I used to be a fan of yours...until you became a surprisingly bad commentator and then used the phrase “left wing” with these roughing the passer calls (even though many of us, Dems and Reps, don’t like these calls) https://t.co/ExwULKDs0m Jeff Elliott (@JeffBElliott) September 25, 2018
Jason Witten called roughing the passer penalties left wing and I turned off the TV 💁🏻♂️ Reginald Duplesses (@ReginalDupless) September 25, 2018
The liberals and their pesky anti-pass rush agenda https://t.co/xaAGAapBM3 Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) September 25, 2018
In August, five months into the job, ESPN presidentJimmy Pitaro told reporters the network that covering politics was “not our jobs.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger went further, telling the Holywood Reporter last week that he and Pitaro thought the sports company “swung a little bit too far away from the field” to societal and political issues.