Play-by-Play Announcer Apologizes to Najee Harris for Incorrectly Saying Athlete Slept on Dorm Floor
ESPN play-by-play announcer Steve Levy has apologized after incorrectly telling viewers that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris slept on the floor of his dorm while attending the University of Alabama.
Speaking Monday night as the Pittsburgh Steelers squared off against the Chicago Bears at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Levy, 56, was discussing how rookie Harris spent time living in a homeless shelter during his youth.
"Even when he got to Alabama on the full-ride scholarship, got the fancy dorm room, he spent the first few months in Alabama sleeping on the floor," said Levy. "Said he was just more comfortable, he was more used to that."
Later Monday, Harris, 23, addressed the comments on Twitter, writing, "Bra I ain't sleep on no dam floor in college. I slept on my bed."
Levy apologized on Twitter the next day, responding to Harris' message. "I got this part wrong Najee, my mistake," said the announcer. "Your story is inspirational & mission to positively impact is admirable. I'll be donating to the Da' Bigger Picture Foundation and encourage others to help Najee's greater purpose where they can."
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According to Yahoo! Sports, Levy might have been confusing Harris with Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who also played for the University of Alabama and experienced homelessness.
In a 2018 article from Bleacher Report, Jacobs said that he slept on the floor in his dorm despite having a bed because he found it more comfortable after spending years, "sleeping on couches, on motel floors and in the back seat of his father's maroon Chevy Suburban."
During his own time at Alabama, Harris helped the university win two national championships in 2017 and 2020, according to CBS News. He also earned the 2020 Doak Walker Award, which is given to college football's best running back.
Before leaving Alabama, Harris became the university's all-time leading rusher with 3,843 career yards and led the school in all-time touchdowns with 57.
Harris' personal experiences with financial hardship are, in part, what inspired him to create Da' Bigger Picture Foundation, which focuses on assisting "families facing challenging times."
The athlete — who was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 24th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft — was even focused on giving back on his draft night in April.
Earlier that day, Harris bought pizza and goodies for children at the homeless shelter in Richmond, California, where he used to live.
"Doing this really makes me and my family feel better," Harris, who played college football at Alabama, told KRON at the time. "It's a subject, especially in the Bay Area, that needs to get shed light on. The more that we are together, the more we can make everything happen, especially in good ways."