NBC commentator Johnny Miller and controversy are old friends. Miller, the 1973 U.S. Open champion, revels in calling out pros for their miscues, mistakes and misreads. Midway through the U.S. Open, with most of the field bogeying hole after hole — or worse — Miller offered up this gem:
"After looking at the field right now, I don't know who's leaking more oil — the field or British Petroleum."
Ouch. Thing is, Miller was headed in the right direction. (Not literally, of course. No spectators at Pebble Beach need to have oil cleaned off them, as best we can tell.) The field was falling apart. Perhaps he could have chosen a better metaphor — Hindenburg? Nope. Titanic? Nope. Britney Spears' career arc? That'd work.
It was a stupid thing to say, yes, using an environmental catastrophe as a cheap joke. But was it out of bounds? Depends, really, on whether you're affected by the oil or not.
Golf has a long history of verbal miscues by announcers, from Jack Whitaker calling the patrons at Augusta National a "mob scene" to Miller himself referring to Rocco Mediate as "the guy who cleans Tiger Woods' pool." It's what happens when you've got long, long hours to fill with verbal repartee.
As of 11 a.m. ET, neither Miller nor NBC Sports had offered any public comment on the matter. Should Miller apologize? Maybe a quick "sorry, folks." But that's it. No need to get the guy fired, disciplined or even lectured. Let's move on to other topics; the culture of censorship and political correctness in this country is already spreading like an oil spi — nope, not going to say it.
Related 2010 U.S. Open posts:
The Tiger Woods 2010 Victory Project remains a work in progress
Dustin Johnson implodes, fumbles away U.S. Open
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• NASCAR driver's attempt to save fuel costs him the race
• ESPN airs something they shouldn't have … twice
• Serbian commentator's embarrassing mistake
• Miley Cyrus bungles awards banter with NHL star