The two reporters who, postgame, approached and annoyed Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Giovani Bernard after he fumbled a botched fake punt in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals both apologized to him privately.
ESPN’s Jenna Laine posted a video from the Buccaneers locker room with the caption, “Bucs running back Giovani Bernard didn’t want to talk to the media about what happened on the botched fake punt. Here’s that interaction. Note: As reporters, it’s is Our job is to shed light on what happened, especially on the most crucial moment of a match.”
The video has garnered a fair amount of backlash and criticism, with many questioning why it was even posted.
Laine addressed the situation in a written statement shared on Twitter Wednesday.
She explained that she apologized to Bernard first and wanted to wait until she “fully understood the missteps” she committed before apologizing publicly.
“Obviously I gave myself a grace period that Giovani did not have when I asked him to speak post-match. He is a better person than me. For many reasons,” he wrote.
The video seemed to start mid-exchange. Bernard said something as he walked among reporters, eliciting responses that referenced his limited availability due to injury.
“Well, you’ve been hurting all year,” Laine said. Another reporter added, “What have you done for us to talk to you all year?”
The latter had been wrongly attributed to Laine, who clarified that those words came from another journalist who had also apologised.
Fox Sports reporter Greg Auman also addressed his role in the exchange on Twitter. “Just to be clear: I shouldn’t have said what I said on Sunday. I will personally apologize to Bernard the first time I get,” he wrote Tuesday in response to a clip from “The Pat McAfee Show” in which reporters were denounced.
“It’s not a good look at all and I understand the criticism,” he added.
Bernard was amazed by the behavior of the reporters. In the video, he asked if he could talk to his family and the video stopped after a short back and forth. When he recovered, Bernard said the show was a miscommunication on his part and took full responsibility for what happened. When asked for more information, he repeated that the mistake was his fault.
Although he did not address the trade, Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis chose not to answer a question from Laine to do so.
“As a team we feel like the people who should be on our side, should be on our side,” Davis said. “Because it happened to him, we understand it could happen to any of us.”
“I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but it’s a matter of respect,” added Davis. “I respect you doing your job, you respect me doing my job.”