We just spoke to FOX NFL analysts Johnson and Bradshaw ... who said he was unaware there was any controversy until friends started calling him this morning.
Bradshaw explained it's a Sunday tradition for JJ to order a bucket of KFC after they wrap the pregame show -- and yesterday was no exception. Bradshaw says Johnson "won't share it with anybody" ... and everyone on set rips him for it.
Johnson backed up the bucket tale ... telling us, "Every Sunday I get 4 pieces of fried chicken, dark meat, and I eat it right there on the set."
Bradshaw tells us yesterday's chicken comment was an innocent shot at one of his co-stars ... something he commonly does during highlights.
TB says, "I'm having a hard time with this ... because that's not me. I never put those two things together because I don't think like that."
But Bradshaw adds, "I understand why people are upset because they don't know the inside story."
For his part, Johnson is sure there was no racist intent -- and tells us, "I love fried chicken. A lot of people love fried chicken, so what's the big deal?"