It was always so easy to like Ken Griffey Jr. when he was playing. He had such charisma and energy and flair. So if you caught Griffey giving a lethargic interview Wednesday during ESPN's SportsCenter, you might have wondered whether it was the same dude.
Griffey seemed listless and disinterested as veteran anchor Linda Cohn tried and tried to get some personality out of him. But it wasn't happening.
He was speaking to ESPN on behalf of Upper Deck, the company that made his famous rookie card and is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014. We've seen sponsored interviews like this go wrong in the past, but with the beloved Ken Griffey Jr. of all people? Griffey hit 630 career home runs, is destined for the Hall of Fame and is a baseball icon to fans from the early '90s. He was the coolest guy in baseball for years, but this interview was definitely not cool.
Afterward, Cohn didn't hold back on Twitter when viewers applauded her efforts. She said Upper Deck might want to reconsider using Griffey as a spokesperson and said the whole thing was a "waste." She seemed generally thrilled to be talking to him in the beginning too.
Is life really that bad for Ken Griffey Jr right now? Smell the roses Ken ! @Bobby_Valencia_— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) March 5, 2014
Thx Dylan. Very disappointed. Upper Deck might want to reconsider who reps them. @DEmmett32— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) March 5, 2014
A few hours after the interview, by the time the video was making the rounds online, Griffey called Cohn to apologize. She says she accepted his apology.
Just got off phone w Ken Griffey Jr. He apologized sincerely for how he came across in @SportsCenter int. I accepted his apology.— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) March 5, 2014
He also posted the following apology on Instagram:
“I want to apologize to Linda for the way things went today. I was in the middle of a cough attack and felt a little ill and didn’t want to walk off the set. Linda has always been professional to me and my family . I’m sorry, Junior @espn @sportcenter @lindacohn”
An apology is nice, but the whole thing was still odd.
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