ESPN's Mark Jones takes shot at Washington on Twitter, won't call UW games
The feud between the Washington Huskies and ESPN, it seems, lives on.
ESPN college football analyst Mark Jones took a shot at the Huskies following their 21-16 season-opening loss to No. 6 Auburn in Atlanta this weekend.
“Washington Huskies took one on the chin,” Jones tweeted on Sunday. “Where’s Montana?”
Washington Huskies took one one on the chin. Where’s Montana ?
— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) September 2, 2018
Montana was one of Washington’s non-conference opponents in 2017, who the Huskies destroyed 63-7. In fact, they beat their three non-conference opponents — Rutgers, Montana and Fresno State — by an average of more than 34 points.
His opinion isn’t totally out of line. That argument, or one similar to it, is played out every college football season across the country with dozens of programs.
Jones followed that up with another on Monday morning in an effort to clarify his initial comments.
“Hey don’t get me wrong, I still think Washington will have a great season,” Jones tweeted on Monday. “Losing to Auburn in their backyard is a lot better than what a team like Miami did to their (College Football Playoff) chances. All love Seattle. (Shoutout) to the bruthas at Greenlake Park.”
Hey don’t get me wrong…I still think Washington will have a great season..losing to Auburn in their backyard is a lot better than what a team like Miami did to their CFP chances. All love Seattle. S/o to the bruthas at Greenlake Park ✊🏾
— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) September 3, 2018
Washington and the Pac-12 Conference, though, had seen enough.
A Washington athletic department spokesman told The Seattle Times on Monday that the school had been assured by the Pac-12 that Jones will not broadcast any of its games this season.
“We are aware of the inappropriate comments in this tweet and have addressed it with ESPN,” the Pac-12 wrote in a statement.
How did the Washington-ESPN feud start?
Last season, Washington coach Chris Petersen expressed his frustration at ESPN constantly “forcing” the Huskies into scheduling late-night games that nobody on the East Coast watches.
The “Pac-12 After Dark” slate is a popular trend across the country — but Peterson has a point. Games starting at 10 or 11 p.m. ET aren’t likely to be seen by as many people on the East Coast, simply because the game will run too late.
Last season, Washington didn’t have a single kickoff time earlier than 5 p.m. PT.
“We want to play at 1 o’clock,” Petersen told the News Tribune last October. “It hurts us tremendously in terms of national exposure. No one wants to watch our game on the East Coast that late, and we all know it.
“It is painful for our team. It’s painful for our administration. And we know certainly the most important part is (it’s painful) for our fans.”
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit responded the next week on College GameDay, saying that Washington “should be thanking ESPN” for wanting to broadcast their games at all, “because now your games are seen.”
That night, during their game against Cal, ESPN sideline reporter Quint Kessenich took a playful shot at Washington’s easy non-conference schedule, too, placing three cupcakes on the field.
In case you wanted to see the cupcake schedule thing for yourself: pic.twitter.com/U5RXEqwRDi
— Kevin Shockey (@KevinShockey) October 8, 2017
Jones, who was calling that game, later complained that Petersen didn’t sit down with the ESPN crew for an interview before the game — even though that’s nothing new for him.
“So 38-7 (is the score) for Washington, an impressive performance,” Jones said during the fourth quarter of the game. “And maybe this will assuage the irascible and somewhat cantankerous head coach, Chris Petersen. He didn’t have much time for us this week.”
Huskies fans are clearly not over their “beef” with ESPN last season. And after Jones’ latest comments, it’s not likely that he’ll be covering the again Huskies anytime soon.
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