Cris Collinsworth 'Sorry' for On-Air Comment That He Was 'Blown Away' by Female Fans' NFL Knowledge

Sports broadcaster Cris Collinsworth is apologizing for making an on-air comment about his shock that women like football.

During the Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers NFL game broadcast on NBC Wednesday, Collinsworth, 61, made a quick remark about interacting with Steelers fans ahead of the matchup.

Collinsworth said in exasperation while laughing: "Everybody’s a fan, in particular the ladies that I met. They had really specific questions about the game, and I'm like, wow — you’re just blown away by how strong the fans are here in this town."

Viewers spoke out on Twitter about the comment, some cringing at it while others deemed it "sexist" and outdated.

On Wednesday night, Collinsworth — who played wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1981 to 1988 — issued a statement on Twitter, formally apologizing for how he "phrased" the way he was "impressed" by the women he spoke to and "their football knowledge."

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"Today on our broadcast I made reference to a couple of women that I met in Pittsburgh who so impressed me with their football knowledge that I wanted to tell their story on the air," read the statement. "I know the way I phrased it insulted many. I'm so sorry."

"What I intended as a compliment to the fans of Pittsburgh, became an insult," continued the Sunday Night Football analyst. "I'm sick about insulting any fan, but especially female fans and journalists. I know first hand how much harder they have to work than any of us in this industry. I was wrong and I deeply apologize."

According to his official bio, Collinsworth, who has also helped with past Olympics coverage, has won 16 Sports Emmy Awards, including several for outstanding sports studio analyst and outstanding event analyst.

A spokesperson for NBC Sports directed PEOPLE to Collinsworth's statement when reached for comment.

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