The controversy surrounding Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has been criticized for partying after New England lost Super Bowl XLVI, took a different turn on Thursday morning when an ESPN commentator called Gronkowski “white boy wasted,” then apologized.
Jalen Rose, the former NBA player who is now an ESPN analyst, appeared on Mike and Mike in the Morning to talk basketball but said at the outset of his appearance that he wanted to weigh in on Gronkowski first. In hindsight, he and ESPN probably wish he had stuck to basketball.
“Forgive this term because I didn’t make it up: He was having a good time. He was white boy wasted. He was having a good time,” Rose said.
That was about two and a half hours into the four-hour Mike and Mike show, and at the very end of the program Rose returned to the studio to apologize. It appeared that Rose (and hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic) were being hurried into getting an apology onto the air before the show ended, although Rose and Golic both laughed through the apology.
“You guys got me in trouble,” Rose said. “Earlier in today’s show we were talking about the Patriots’ post-game party and I made some comments that other people — some people — took as insensitive remarks, so for those that took it that way I definitely apologize. Pretty sure I always say things that upset people, get under people’s skin. I guess today was no different. So I’m sorry for the pushback.”
Rose’s apology took on the “I’m sorry that you were offended” tone of so many forced apologies, which suggests that he was apologizing more because someone at ESPN told him to than because he thought he had really done anything wrong. Rose took on a joking tone in his initial comments, and his apology also sounded like a joke.