Najee Harris has a compelling backstory — spending part of his childhood in a homeless shelter while living with a single mother — but somehow ESPN managed to bungle telling it.
During the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 29-27 win over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, Louis Riddick began telling the audience about Harris’ upbringing, when play-by-play voice Steve Levy added this tidbit:
“Even when he got to [University of] Alabama on a full ride, got the fancy dorm room, he spent the first few months in Alabama sleeping on the floor,” Levy said. “He said he’s just more comfortable, more used to that.”
It’s an interesting anecdote to an already fascinating story, the only problem is it is not true.
Harris called out Levy immediately after the game on Twitter saying that story is fabricated.
Ironically, after Levy told the story analyst Brian Griese added, “that’s an unbelievable story.”
Little did he know that it was unbelievable in the most literal sense.
Levy owned up to the mistake on Tuesday, tweeting at Harris that he would donate to his charity.
It is possible that Levy had confused Harris with another Alabama running back — Josh Jacobs — who plays for the Raiders.
Jacobs’ family was always on the move as a kid and he would often be left sleeping on the couch or floor. When he got to Alabama he reportedly continued to sleep on the floor.
While it was an egregious mix-up from Levy, at least he admitted his mistake and is trying to make something positive out of it with a donation to his charity.