After pulling off a win over Utah while basically playing for overtime on Saturday night, Washington players were understandably pretty excited. In the locker room amid the celebration, the “Worldwide Leader” caught some shade.
VITA VEA WITH A ESPN CUPCAKE SIGN IN THE LOCKER ROOM pic.twitter.com/QBE57XETF7— Spencer Klein (@kleincreativity) November 19, 2017
The video, posted on QB Jake Browning’s Instagram story, shows three players posing with a sign showing ESPN’s name on a bunch of cupcakes as defensive lineman Vita Vea holds it up.
Maybe you didn’t see Washington’s win, if you went to bed on the East Coast, and that’s the crux of the issue here. A few weeks ago, ESPN ran some ridiculous and bizarre talking points on both College GameDay and during the telecast of Washington’s game against Cal. They were the direct response to coach Chris Petersen’s criticism of the time slots Washington games are played in.
“We want to play at 1:00 [PT]. 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.” Washington head coach Chris Petersen said before the Huskies’ 38-7 win over Cal. “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.”
Kirk Herbstreit firing back was at least understandable because he is paid to offer his opinion on things. He did just that on College GameDay the morning of the game.
But then on the actual game telecast, ESPN’s commentators pointedly responded to Petersen while running this chyron over him.
Then the icing on the [cup]cake was this demonstration later in the game about Washington’s schedule, using actual cupcakes to describe the weak slate.
ESPN sidelines reporter brought cupcakes to show Washington's non-conference schedule! Damn! Lmaooll pic.twitter.com/ezLXWjtUgd— '03 Kliff Kingsbury (@fearthe_beard11) October 8, 2017
Food is a recurring bit that sideline reporter Quint Kessenich uses each week, but in the context of the spat that ESPN essentially created, it was odd. It looked like the network was piling on Washington, and the network has since apologized.
It seems like Vea and the Huskies had the last word, though, and after a final 10:30 p.m. ET start time against Utah in Week 12, Washington plays Washington State at 8 p.m. ET on FOX this week.