- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ESPN is trying to get out of politics. On “Monday Night Football,” analyst Jason Witten might have put them back there.

The former Dallas Cowboys tight end has received criticism after saying the NFL’s controversial roughing the passer rule has gone “a little to the left wing” during Monday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Here is Witten’s comment in full context, per Pro Football Talk: 

“It’s just gone too far with that rule,” ESPN’s Jason Witten said regarding the NFL’s enhanced emphasis on roughing the passer. “I knew they wanted to make it about the health and safety and protect these quarterbacks. It just seems like we just went a little bit to the left wing on that, you know, with our approach of trying to protect it because as we said not only are the players frustrated but the coaches, they don’t know how to coach this. That’s when you have a challenge with this rule.”

In a statement to Philly.com, the network defended Witten, saying the comment had “nothing to do with politics.”

But that didn’t stop others from blasting Witten, who’s in his first year as an announcer, on Twitter: 

In August, five months into the job, ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro told reporters the network that covering politics was “not our jobs.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger went further, telling the Holywood Reporter last week that he and Pitaro thought the sports company “swung a little bit too far away from the field” to societal and political issues.  

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