KUSA sports anchor Drew Soicher has apologized after opening his sportscast with a questionable reference to Alzheimer’s disease. “So much talk about Alzheimer’s at Broncos training camp that you wonder if that’s the name of a new player on the roster,” Soicher said, before turning to the news that team owner Pat Bowlen had stepped aside to receive Alzheimer’s treatment.
The “new player” line was quickly tackled as an insensitive joke, as Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow writes:
Soicher, the 9News sports anchor, got the jokey TV rhythm right (sounds like a vaudeville gag) — but the content uncomfortably wrong. His opener blew up as a tasteless one-liner on social media.
Soicher insists he never intended to joke “about anybody’s illness,” and posted the line–in context–on the KUSA website, along with his comments:
To clarify, I am not joking about anybody’s illness. In an attempt to convey the information about the prevalence of conversation regarding Alzheimer’s disease at Broncos training camp (Pat Bowlen’s resignation as CEO and the death of Demaryius Thomas’ grandmother), I delivered a line which some viewers found offensive. For that, I sincerely apologize.
Alzheimer’s is a horrible, insidious disease which affects the memory, thinking and behavior of more than five million Americans. There is nothing funny about it. I was not striving for humor.
I hope the courage of the Bowlen family triggers a discussion that leads to a greater awareness of a serious issue.