ESPN Tweets Photo of Fan’s Sign About ‘Ole Miss Girls,’ Prompting Criticism

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ESPN is drawing criticism for a fan picture on its social media accounts that some say is sexist.

A tweet from the @CollegeGameDay account sparked controversy on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Credit: ESPN)

A tweet from the @CollegeGameDay account sparked controversy on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Credit: ESPN)

The picture, taken outside the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, shows a Crimson Tide fan holding a sign directed at opponents University of Mississippi.

“Ole Miss Girls Are Easier Than Their Out-Of-Conference Schedule,” reads the sign, a reference to the first two games on the Rebels’ schedule. They scored 76 and 73 points in those games.

The image, posted on the official College GameDay social media accounts, included the caption “Just no chill,” or not cool.

Anchor Rece Davis and analyst Kirk Herbstreit rebuked the image as it flashed on the screen during the broadcast among other fan zone shots.

“I can’t condone that type of behavior,” Davis said.

“That is unacceptable,” Herbstreit said.

The picture generated long comment exchanges on College GameDay’s social media accounts.

As one Twitter user said, “Utterly classless and embarrassing to feature this sign. What does this say about your brand? Integrity?”

“You guys really shouldn’t perpetuate this garbage. Sets a bad example. I get it, it’s a rivalry. Little inappropriate though,” another said.

Others rushed to defend the image, urging detractors to “chill out.”

ESPN said it did not intend to remove the picture.

“Our Twitter handle looks to bring the sights and sounds of the College GameDay experience to the viewer at home and reflect how the fans on site express themselves,” spokeswoman Keri Potts said.