ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter Jenna Laine publicly apologized for her exchange with running back Giovani Bernard after the Bucs’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.
But when Laine asked Carlton Davis a question during his media availability Wednesday, the cornerback ignored it and used it as a moment to reflect on the back-and-forth.
“There’s an incident with Gio Bernard, and as a team, we just feel as if the people who’s supposed to be on our side should be on our side, and because it happens to him, we understand that it can happen to anyone of us,” Davis said.
“So right now, we just feel that this is a sensitive subject to talk about when we do talk to you guys and how vulnerable we can be at times. I don’t want to shout anyone out, but it’s just a respect thing. I respect you doing your job. You respect me doing my job.”
Laine drew criticism for posting her and other reporters’ exchange with Bernard after the Bucs’ tough loss. The reporters wanted to speak with Bernard because he was part of a crucial fake punt gone wrong.
“Oh now you guys want to talk to me,” Bernard said.
Laine responded that Bernard had been “injured all year,” added that Bernard had spoken to reporters due to his injury. Players on injured reserve are not required to speak to the media.
Another reporter asked, “What have you done for us to talk to you about all year?”
In a lengthy Twitter post, Laine said first that she apologized to Bernard, saying there was “no benefit” and “my intention wasn’t to make it some ‘gotcha’ moment, but to illustrate how tense things can get in the locker room when a team isn’t meeting its expectations.”
“My intent was that these athletes didn’t get to where they are with hand-holding, they’re some of the toughest people on the planet and accountability is part of their daily lives. I realize that it came off as cruel and insensitive. In no way was I attempting to weaponize his injury against him either by pointing it out,” she explained.
“The most difficult thing about this has been that in this moment I became what I swore I would never be, lacking empathy, and that was something that was very much needed here.”
Bernard complied and took blame for the fake punt.
The Bucs lead the NFC South despite a 6-8 record.
Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.