MATTHEWS: The outrage mob goes after Troy Aikman for ridiculous reasons 

Troy Aikman attends the Disney 2022 Upfront presentation at Basketball City Pier 36 on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

With the NFL becoming more “socially aware” from a left-wing standpoint (aka “woke”) over the years, there have been increasing instances where popular sports commentators have said something off the cuff and got dinged by social media outrage mobs in the aftermath. 

A few noteworthy examples come to mind. 

Back in December 2020, NBC sports commentator Cris Collinsworth — a former wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals — was doing color commentary during a game when he committed the unforgivable offense of complimenting some female football fans for their knowledge of the sport. 

“Everybody’s a fan,” Collinsworth stated during the broadcast. “In particular, the ladies that I met. They have really specific questions about the game, and I’m like, ‘Wow, you’re just blown away by how strong the fans are here in this town.’” 

The eruptions started immediately. 

“On the Ravens-Steelers broadcast, Cris Collinsworth seemed surprised that ‘the ladies’ in Pittsburgh are able to talk in-depth about football,” one Twitter user wrote, tagging the “EverydaySexism” Twitter account for good measure. 

Collinsworth got so pilloried over the innocent comment that he ended up apologizing, saying, “I’m sick about insulting any fan, but especially female fans and journalists.” 

Not quite a year later, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback-turned-CBS NFL sports commentator Tony Romo was commenting on Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Tom Brady throwing his 600th touchdown pass. He jokingly came up with ideas on how Brady could get the ball back after it had been tossed to a fan. Romo’s suggestion was a date with Brady’s wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, joking that Brady would be up for it as long as he could get that historic football back. 

“A date with Gisele and I’m in,” Romo quipped while assuming the role of the fan. “OK, Tom will do it. One time, you got it,” he went on to say as though he was a Bucs rep. 

Some so-called “fans” were not amused, with several suggesting Romo was saying Bündchen should be treated like “property.” 

While Romo, to my knowledge, never bowed to the mob, another former Dallas quarterback did just last week. 

Troy Aikman, who is now an ESPN analyst, found himself in the hot seat when out of frustration over what he felt were bad “roughing the passer” calls in two different games, he opined that “My hope is the competition committee looks at this in the next set of meetings, and you know, we take the dresses off.” 

The outrage mob rushed to brand Aikman as “sexist” in response to the supposed insinuation that wearing a dress was a symbol of weakness. 

As a result, in a later interview, Aikman referred to his comments as “dumb.” 

“Yeah, I mean, my comments were dumb,” the Dallas Morning News reported Aikman as saying. “Just shouldn’t have made them, just dumb remarks on my part.” 

My colleague Bob Hoge had what I think was the best response to all the drama over Aikman’s use of the “dresses” analogy. 

“In my view, Aikman is not making an attempt to demean women; he presumably knows like everyone else that women play rugby, professional basketball, and many other sports,” Hoge wrote. “He’d tell them to take their dresses off too (and no, not in a sexual way). What he means is, let them get down and dirty and play the damn game.” 

My thought on these matters is that you have to view such comments in context before judging them. You also have to consider the person making them. Then step back for 30 seconds before jumping to conclusions. In most cases, people will shrug them off or chuckle in the spirit in which they were intended, as they should, and will then move on. 

I mean that’s how it should be, right? 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.