Well, this is awkward.
After news broke Thursday that Michigan State was cleared by the NCAA of any potential violations in the allegations of sexual assault against its basketball and football programs, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit shared the news in a since-deleted post on Twitter that appeared to be a dig at the reporters who covered the story.
“Can’t wait to watch, read, and listen to ALL the follow up stories from the same folks that had @MSU_Basketball and @MSU_Football Guilty Until Proven Innocent,” Herbstreit tweeted. “Is that one reporter that followed Coach Izzo around at post game pressers gonna chase him down now?!”
Perhaps Herbstreit didn’t know that one of the outlets that pursued the story most vigorously was ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” which originally broke the story in January involving sexual assault claims against student-assistant basketball coach Travis Walton.
“OTL” reporter Nicole Noren made sure Herbstreit was aware.
“Thanks Kirk,” she tweeted back. “We also look forward to the follow-up stories we’re working on about holding education officials accountable in regards to reports of violence against women.”
Noren added “p.s.” with a link to another story from ESPN that quoted Michigan State officials saying they would “handle it differently” if such allegations were made today.
While it’s not exactly certain which reporter Herbstreit was referring to that followed basketball coach Tom Izzo around at postgame press conferences, he may be thinking of another colleague. It was “OTL” reporter Tisha Thompson who pressed Izzo on Walton’s time with the program after a game in January.
The backlash against Herbstreit was immediate and severe enough for him to delete his original tweet and post an apology just a couple hours later.
“I’ve seen some strong reactions to my now deleted tweet about MSU,” Herbstreit wrote. “I apologize for the unnecessary dig at the reporters who worked hard on an important story.”
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