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Paul Finebaum: Notre Dame president’s letter to students ‘hypocritical’

ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum blasted Rev. John Jenkins over the Notre Dame president admonishing Fighting Irish fans for storming the field following the team’s win Saturday over the Clemson Tigers.

The Fighting Irish upended the then-No. 1 Tigers by a score 47-40 in double overtime at Notre Dame Stadium. Fans allowed their excitement get the best of them despite the risks due to the ongoing dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, including in Indiana.

In a letter to students on Sunday, Jenkins admonished them for their actions on Saturday, lamenting how it was “very disappointing to see evidence of widespread disregard of our health protocols.”

On Tuesday, Finebaum took Rev. Jenkins to task for castigating students in such a manner, pointing out the arguable hypocrisy of his condemnation while doing so.

“(The field storming) was terrible look, but let me say a couple of things — at the age of 18 or 19, I’m sure would’ve probably done the same thing,” Finebaum said on ESPN’s First Take, as transcribed by 247Sports. “But I’ll tell you what bothered me the most and I went to a Catholic high school, so I was tought to respect clergy, but I’m going to say something about Father Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame and theoretically one of the most respected people in intercollegiate athletics and in high academia.

“This man called out those students in a letter, admonishing them, coming after them. He was at the White House a month ago, he was at the outdoor announcement of the next Supreme Court justice, and he was sitting there with everyone else without a mask. And guess what? The president of Notre Dame contracted COVID.

“So, I have a hard time coming down on the students when he did essentially the same thing and now being hypocritical as you could possibly be admonishing those students.”

Finebaum notes in his screed how Jenkins himself tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett in Washington, D.C., in late September. Footage from the event showed a majority of attendees not wearing masks. Jenkins was among the large contingent of individuals without masks and was even seen shaking hands with fellow attendees.

The nomination ceremony was later condemned by critics as a likely superspreader event.