Did Olbermann Ridicule Dead Green Bay Packer Legend?

Keith Olbermann’s voice-over work on the Sunday night NFL roundup on NBC can contain an occasional shock. (Consider the "Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles" inside joke.) This happened again on Sunday night, as Olbermann recounted the Oakland Raiders-Tennessee Titans contest: "Nine-three in the first half. We skipped the first half because it was really boring. LenDale White started finding some huge holes, 27 carries, 133 [yards]. It’s like falling off a roof."

To Green Bay Packer fans, this line was a jaw-dropper. Over the weekend, legendary Packers receiver (and long-time radio announcer) Max McGee was buried after falling off his roof in suburban Minneapolis and dying at the age of 75. How could Olbermann be this insensitive?

It turns out that Olbermann was making another inside joke. In his college days at USC, LenDale White once scared his teammates. Tom Johnson dug up a November 2, 2005 transcript of Countdown with Keith, as he counted down the day’s top three newsmakers:

And number one, Pete Carroll, coach of the nation‘s number-one-ranked college football team, USC. His team‘s tail back, Lendale White, stormed off the practice field last night, swearing, swearing he was quitting. Next thing his horrified teammates knew, White was on the roof of the building next to their field. Then they saw him, still in his number 21 uniform, plummeting four stories to the ground.

As players froze with fear and terror, Coach Carroll started laughing. It was his Halloween prank on his team. White waved happily from his hiding spot on the roof. It was a dummy that went over. USC announced today it will be rescheduling its remaining games around the psychiatrist appointments for half of the team.

So at least Olbermann had another reason to make a roof remark. But perhaps he should have thought over that inside joke a little longer considering the accidental death of Max McGee.

(HT: Mike Dorais)

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis