ESPN commentator and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden made a short but embarrassing gaffe during last night's Clemson-West Virginia Orange Bowl when he thought a photo of First Lady Michelle Obama was a picture of sideline reporter Lisa Salters.
The Obama-Salters Slip-Up
Quite a production, calling plays on Clemson's sideline, Grudan said to booth partner Mike Tirico. Just watch Chad Morris call the plays.
It was then that the camera turned to a man waving a photo of Michelle Obama, and Gruden made his Orange Bowl fumble.
There's Lisa Salters, he said, mistakenly ID-ing the photo as that of an ESPN sideline reporter rather than a shot of the First Lady on Inauguration Day.
Luckily for Gruden, Tirico corrected him almost immediately, laughing up the mistake and getting back into the commentary.
Was Mistake Offensive?
But as brief as the slip-up was, the idea that Jon Gruden didn't know who Michelle Obama was, or that he had confused Obama and Salters because both were black women, made video footage of the gaffe go viral, with most viewing the incident as laughable and a few, like Bison Messink at Sportsology, as bordering on offensive.
Lisa Salters is a sideline reporter for ESPN. Michelle Obama is the married to the President of the United States, Messink wrote.
Sounds like they're pretty different from one another, right? NOPE. Why not? If you guessed 'because they're both black women,' then you're the big winner.
He then compared photos of the reporter and the First Lady, who despite having a similar haristyle do look quite different from each other.
Cook Plows Into Orange Bowl Mascot
It's highly unlikely that Jon Gruden's mistake was motivated by any racial prejudice. Far more likely is that the ESPN commentator got muddled while covering the Orange Bowl game and simply let slip a hilarious soundbite.
Still, while the idea that Gruden wouldn't know who Michelle Obama is makes for a pretty laughable few seconds, his flub wasn't the only embarrassing moment during yesterday's Orange Bowl.
After West Virginia safety Darwin Cook returned a 99 yard interception, he ran to the end zone... and right into Orange Bowl mascot Obie, a giant orange.
After the game, Cook gave the mascot a hug and said sorry to the woman inside.
I didn't know you were a girl, he said. I apologize.
ESPN Commentator Jon Gruden Confuses Michelle Obama with Lisa Salters:
Darwin Cook Learns Orange Bowl Mascot Was Girl, Gives Obie a Hug: