Following his shocking victory in the fatal four-way on Monday Night Raw that crowned him the WWE Universal Champion, Kevin Owens' wife, Karina Steen shared an Instagram video of their son, Owen reacting to his father's big win.
The brief clip, which was taken moments after KO pinned Seth Rollins to win the newly-created title, showed the 8-year old overcome with emotion and "speechless" that his dad was the champ. The heartwarming video was shared across social media and made the rounds on various wrestling and legitimate sports websites.
Attention-starved ESPN personality and NBA analyst Amin Elhassan - one of the new breed of sports "journalists" - responded to a tweet of the video with the comment "Until someone told him it was scripted" which he proudly proclaimed as if he was delivering breaking news that no one else was privy to. The mean-spirited nature of the remark drew the ire of many fans as well as those within the wrestling industry, not to mention a couple of Elhassan's colleagues at ESPN, most notably former WWE employee Jonathan "Coach" Coachman.
What was assuredly meant to be nothing more than a trolling attempt that so many of his cohorts resort to blew up into a significant story, with many taking offense at the fact that Amin chose to make a young child proud of his father the butt of one of his "hot take" jokes. Fans were also further perturbed due to a widely-held belief that Owen Steen is on the autism spectrum, but neither Kevin nor his wife have gone on record confirming that.
When criticism began flying his way, rather than backing off, Elhassan stubbornly doubled down on his stance and continued to offer up insults toward anyone who challenged him.
That all changed today when the Sportscenter regular issued a formal apology:
"I tweeted a joke about wrestling earlier this week and it was in poor taste. I sincerely apologize to Kevin Owens and his family."
The man who calls himself the #HateHard King has built an entire persona based around getting people riled up, and when someone chooses to run with that gimmick they occasionally take things too far, as he appears to have done here. There's no word on what caused Elhassan to back down, although it's doubtful it was a constant barrage of tweets from angry wrestling fans. More likely, you can chalk the sudden change of heart up to pressure from his employer due to "worldwide leader is sports" network's increasingly synergetic relationship with WWE.
In what may or may not be related to Elhassan's apology, shortly after it was issued Kevin Owens tweeted simply "I win."