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Katherine Webb: Media unfair to Musburger

By Jason Hanna, CNN
updated 8:43 PM EST, Wed January 9, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alabama quarterback's girlfriend tells NBC's "Today" says she's flattered by attention
  • ESPN broadcaster Brent Musburger remarked on beauty of Katherine Webb during game
  • Brent Musburger's comments came during live coverage of national championship game

(CNN) -- Katherine Webb says she's flattered that broadcaster Brent Musburger gushed about her beauty during live coverage of the college football championship -- and she's taken aback by a backlash against him.

Webb -- girlfriend of Alabama's starting quarterback and subject of Musburger's on-air fawning during the Crimson Tide's 42-14 thrashing of Notre Dame on Monday night -- told NBC's "Today" that Musburger is getting a bum rap.

"I think the media has been really unfair to him," she told the NBC show on Wednesday morning. "If he would have said something along the lines of that we were hot or sexy, or made any derogatory statements like that, that would have been different.

"But the fact that he said we were beautiful and gorgeous, I don't see why any woman wouldn't be flattered by that. I think they've been a little bit unfair to him, and so I don't take any offense to it at all."

During Monday's game, an ESPN camera focused on Webb, a former Miss Alabama USA who is dating Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron. She was in the stands, sitting next to McCarron's mother -- and Musburger's river of compliments began.

"Now when you are a quarterback at Alabama, you see that lovely lady there, she does go to Auburn, I want to admit that, but she's also Miss Alabama and that's AJ McCarron's girlfriend, OK?" the ESPN play-by-play man said.

"Wow, I'm telling you, quarterbacks -- you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman," Musburger continued. "Whoa! If you're a youngster at Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the back yard with pops."

Opinion: Give Musburger a break

In the middle of that, Musburger's broadcasting partner, Kirk Herbstreit, added: "Wow! AJ is doing some things right down in Tuscaloosa."

The 73-year-old Musburger attracted some derision on social media, with some Twitter posters calling his comments "creepy." On Tuesday, ESPN said "We apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far, and Brent understands that."

Webb told "Today" she's flattered by the attention -- her Twitter following rose from 526 on December 26 to more than 233,000 on Wednesday, according to the stats site TwitterCounter.com.

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Webb, a 2011 Auburn University graduate, said it took her a while to find out what was happening, because her phone had stopped working before the game.

"During the game, a few of my friends sitting beside me kind of turned around and were like, 'Oh my gosh, Katherine, look what's on the Internet,' " she told "Today."

But she said that attention needs to start swinging back to Alabama's football team, which won its third national title in four years.

"I think that we need to draw back our attention to who the real winners are, and that's that Alabama football team," she told "Today." "They've spent so long getting ready for this season."

Jenn Sterger, shown here at Spike TV\'s \'2011 Video Game Awards\' in Los Angeles, stepped into the limelight when Musburger alluded to her beauty when ABC showed her at a 2005 football game.
Jenn Sterger, shown here at Spike TV's '2011 Video Game Awards' in Los Angeles, stepped into the limelight when Musburger alluded to her beauty when ABC showed her at a 2005 football game.

Another woman whom Musburger helped lift to fame -- Jenn Sterger, subject of the sportscaster's on-air compliments more than seven years ago -- told CNN Wednesday that Musburger is a great guy who just comments on what his producers give him.

Sterger was one of three scantily clad football fans whom ABC showed during a broadcast of a Florida State football game in 2005. At that moment, Musburger said that "1,500 red-blooded Americans just decided to apply" to the school.

Sterger went on to appear in Playboy and Maxim, and took a job as stadium host for New York Jets football games. Later, quarterback Brett Favre got in trouble for sending her lurid messages while he was a Jets player.

"I think (Musburger) is a really great guy," Sterger told CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" on Wednesday. "Maybe he went a little bit overboard (on Monday) and got carried away, but what else was he supposed to be talking about? Did you see the score of that game?"

Would she give any advice to Webb?

"Everybody walks different. It's not my place or anyone else's place to make a decision what she's going to do with it," Sterger said. "I think she's got a great head on her shoulders. ... It's her journey.

"Embrace it and have fun along the way. Don't get too wrapped up in it."

CNN's Michael Pearson and Soledad O'Brien contributed to this report.

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