Saturday afternoon, college football fans tuned in to ESPN for the day's slate of games. Before the action, however, analyst Kirk Herbstreit delivered an emotional message that soon went viral. He discussed racism, America's reaction to violent incidents between African Americans and police and called for everyone to try to help.
Herbstreit started off the conversation on Saturday by referencing conversations he has been having with Stanford's David Shaw. He said that the head coach once gave him a quote from Benjamin Franklin, which talked about justice not being served. He broke down in tears while pleading with the White community to listen and have open hearts. He also brought his other co-hosts to tears while making his plea to viewers.
“You can’t relate to that if you’re white, but you can listen and you can try to help because this is not okay.”
Kirk Herbstreit with a powerful and emotional statement this morning on College Gamedaypic.twitter.com/QUmG0u7Ie7— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) September 5, 2020
"'Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are,'" Herbstreit said. "That's what I mean when I think… the Black community is hurting. If you've listened – the word empathy and compassion [comes up] over these last four months – how do you listen to these stories and not feel pain? And not want to help? You know?
"Wearing a hoodie and putting your hands at 10 and 2. 'Oh God I better look out because I'm wearing Nike gear.' What? What are we talking about? And so, 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 not. We've got to do better man. We've got to lock arm-in-arm and be together. And in a football locker room, that stuff is gone. Those barriers are gone. We've got to do better."
Several people weighed in after watching this display of emotion live on Saturday. This includes Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Detroit Lions linebacker Jason Cabinda, who tweeted "Always had a ton of respect for [Kirk Herbstreit] and the way he conducts himself in the media and on air. But hearing those heartfelt words and seeing that raw emotion today live most definitely made my day. Thank you for being an ally."
Many others expressed support for Herbstreit on social media and reiterated that football breaks barriers. Several also said that they believe the ESPN analyst truly made the comments from a place of empathy. They expressed the opinion that Herbstreit spent most of his life in the melting pot of college athletics and that he truly cares.