Chris Long not amused by Danica Patrick's national anthem controversy joke at ESPYs

A Danica Patrick joke making light of the NFL’s anthem controversy drew some groans and a not-so-subtle rebuke from Chris Long at Wednesday’s ESPYs. (AP)

Danica Patrick was tasked with hosting Wednesday’s ESPY Awards, ESPN’s annual broadcast answer to filling the slowest day on the sports calendar.

It can be a tough gig for an athlete who is expected to step on stage in front of a national TV audience and be funny. Plenty of professional comedians fall flat in these sorts of hosting gigs, so for someone who’s not paid to be funny for a living, there are plenty of potholes to dodge.

Danica Patrick takes on anthem controversy at ESPYs

Maybe Patrick should have thought better of broaching a topic as hot and controversial as the NFL’s national anthem policy. We’re not saying that the subject is completely off limits for jokes. Just that this is territory best left to the pros.

Her monologue joke implying the real anthem controversy was over Fergie’s atrocious rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner at February’s NBA All-Star Game fell flat.

Chris Long not amused

And it drew a particularly strong rebuke from Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who has been a vocal critic of the NFL’s stance on protests during the national anthem.

Long, surely made aware that his response was caught on camera by an astute TV production crew and catching traction on social media, took to Twitter to clarify that he didn’t think Patrick’s joke was bad, but that he was referring to Fergie’s All-Star anthem.

Sure, Chris. Whatever you say.

Danica’s other monologue gems

Patrick produced a few other groans and chuckles during her monologue, including jokes about sex at Catholic schools …

Tiger Woods’ struggles on the golf course …

and LeBron James’ hairline.

While Patrick is unlikely to get a Netflix special from her comedy stylings, she did appear to embrace the corniness of her jokes and had the guts to get up there in the first place, so bravo.

Just maybe stay away from the flaming hot topics in the future.

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