NBC Sports color broadcaster and former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh this week.
Collinsworth and the NBC crew flew in expecting the game with the Baltimore Ravens to be played on Thanksgiving, but instead ended up spending a week in a Pittsburgh hotel while waiting for the game to eventually be played on Wednesday.
Just before kickoff on the broadcast, Collinsworth attempted to compliment the fans of the city that he was able to meet while in Pittsburgh on their passion and knowledge of game, in particular the female fans. But what he intended to be a compliment, some took as a suggestion that women are not or ought not to be knowledgeable about football.
“Everybody’s a fan,” he said on the broadcast. “In particular the ladies that I met. They have really specific questions about the game. I’m like, wow. You’re just blown away how strong the fans are here in this town.”
After the game, Collinsworth apologized and said he intended only to highlight the passion and knowledge of Steelers fans, especially female Steelers fans.
“Today on our broadcast, I made reference to a couple of women that I met in Pittsburgh who so impressed me with their football knowledge that I wanted to tell their story on air,” he wrote on Twitter. “ I know the way I phrased it insulted many. I’m so sorry. What I intended as a compliment to the fans of Pittsburgh, became an insult. I’m sick about insulting any fan, but especially female fans and journalists. I know first hand how much harder they have to work than any of us in this industry. I was wrong and I deeply apologize.”
— Cris Collinsworth (@CollinsworthPFF) December 3, 2020
The NBC crew for the Steelers-Ravens broadcast included veteran female sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.