Sports

Watch ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit Give A Moving Speech About Combatting Racism On ‘College GameDay’

Week 1 of this bizarre college football season kicked off on Saturday afternoon. As a result, ESPN’s Saturday morning institution, College GameDay, is back, although it’s not quite the same as it is in years past — no raucous crowds, no college campus, yes to views of a bunch of home offices and Lee Corso’s patio.

Saturday’s episode featured a discussion about social justice, one that moved GameDay stalwart Kirk Herbstreit to tears. Herbstreit began by saying that he believes white players in locker rooms need to “really help with the change” and expressing his belief that the work that needs to be done to combat racism has to go beyond the “great” demonstrations that have been commonplace across the world of sports in recent months.

Herbstreit went on to mention a conversation he had with Stanford coach David Shaw, who told him the Benjamin Franklin quote “justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are,” before he began to tear up.

“The Black community is hurting,” Herbstreit says. “If you listened — the word ’empathy’ and ‘compassion’ over these last four months — how do you listen to these stories and not feel pain and not want to help? Wearing a hoodie, putting your hands at 10 and 2, ‘Oh God, I better look out because I’m wearing Nike gear.’ Like, what? What are we talking about? You can’t relate to that if you’re white, but you can listen, and you can try to help, because this is not ok. It’s just not.”

Herbstreit went on to give a call to action, saying through tears that, “We gotta do better, man. We gotta, like, lock arm and arm and be together in a football locker room. That stuff is gone, those barriers are gone, we just gotta do better.”

Several of his GameDay colleagues were emotional over this, while Rece Davis mentioned the role that sports have played in combatting racism, citing individuals like Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson. You can watch the entire segment above.

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