PHILADELPHIA--Responding to widespread public outcry, Fox broadcaster Troy Aikman issued an apology today for a grammatical error he made during Sunday’s broadcast of the Cowboys-Eagles game. The error came during the second quarter, and resulted in a flood of phone calls from angry viewers. In his statement, Aikman vowed that it would never happen again.

“I would like to apologize to anyone I may have offended by using that split infinitive,” said Aikman, reading from a prepared statement. “As you know, color commentators work very hard and utter many words, and occasionally we are going to make mistakes. Still, using one of those is inexcusable. I promise it will never happen again. Please stop sending my family death threats.”

The now infamous split infinitive occurred during an exchange between Aikman and broadcast partner Dick Stockton, following a Matt Hasselbeck interception. Aikman noted that, prior to the game, Seattle coach Mike Holmgren warned Hasselbeck “to not take those kinds of chances.”

“I don’t know what possessed me to say that,” Aikman said after the game. “Obviously, the infinitive of ‘take’ is ‘to take,’ and the presence of the word ‘not’ makes it—duh—a split infinitive. As soon as it came out of my mouth I wanted to jump in hole and die. I especially feel bad for Dick. I think I really threw him for a loop. He spit his coffee out all over the place.”

Stockton did manage to cover up for Aikman’s gaffe by quickly changing the subject.

“Um…yea…that’s an interesting take on it,” he sputtered, wiping the coffee off his shirt. “Um…anyway. Time for a commercial? No? Ok, well, it’s first and 10 here on the Seahawks 20. Great game so far. Defensive struggle. A real slugfest. What do you think, Troy? Actually…forget it. I don’t want to know.”

Afterwards, Stockton said he gave Aikman some encouraging words.

“During the commercial break I really had to talk him down,” said Stockton. “When something like that happens it‘s pretty embarrassing. I just said ‘Hang in there, buddy. Dust yourself off and forget about it. We’re gonna need you for the rest of the this broadcast.’ He was OK, but I could tell he was a little upset. We’re held to a pretty high standard, especially with Fox’s long tradition of great orators in the broadcast booth.”

Members of the media have taken turns blasting Aikman for his carelessness. Even his old teammate, Michael Irvin, criticized him on NFL Primetime.

“Now you know I played with Troy, and you know I love the guy, but you simply cannot make a mistake like that when you’re at this level,” he said. “Split infinitives, dangling participles, double negatives, we’ve all used them. Hell, even I’ve used them. But I’m not in the broadcast booth. I’m here in the studio with Mike Ditka. We operating at about a third grade level here.”

The Fox network has opted not to fine or suspend Aikman. Now that he’s made his apology, they are eager to move forward.

“We’re content with Troy’s statement and believe that he’ll learn from his mistake,” said Shannon Bronski, Fox producer. “We just feel sorry for all the fans that had to sit through that. It certainly does not reflect the values of the Fox network. I guess the only upside is that there’s a new episode of House on Tuesday that’s going to shock you and leave you breathless.”

Aikman’s next game is Sunday and he’s looking forward to starting over with a clean slate.

“All you can do is put it behind you and move on,” he said. “That’s what I plan to do. I know the fans are on me right now. I’m sure on all the blogs I’m being made fun of... Damn! There I go again! I dangled a fucking preposition. You know, sometimes I just wish I studied more in school. Actually, no I don’t. Then I never would’ve been a football player.”





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Troy Aikman Apologizes For Grammatical Error During Football Broadcast

October 25 , 2005 - Volume 2 Issue 14