Kirk Herbstreit has said countless words, expressed an untold number of opinions in his work as a College GameDay analyst since 1996. But he's never had a moment like he did on Saturday.
As part of a very different show before a very different season, the GameDay crew was not together on set before thousands of fans outside of the game's biggest day. They were in little boxes, talking from the network's Bristol studio or out of their own homes. There was a lot to catch the viewer up on -- the coronavirus that has knocked all but six conferences out of this season, and the social justice activism that spread across the country earlier this summer and then again last week.
After Maria Taylor hosted a 9-minute roundtable discussion with players, the crew threw it around the horn for their thoughts on where we stand in this country. Herbstreit batted cleanup, and produced a moment even he didn't know was coming.
"I was wrestling with what I really wanted to say versus whether I just go the easy route and say, ‘Boy, I’m glad the players got together with Maria and had a chance to say what’s on their mind and things that they’re doing.’ I listened very intently to the players and Maria. I listened very intently to Desmond. And then David. And then Coach (Corso). And it was my turn to go and my heart was pounding. I literally had no idea if I was going to go left or right," Herbstreit told The Athleticafterward. "Was I just going to just kind of clean up the segment and say, ‘This is great that we’re talking about the issues,’ or do I go down a path where I don’t know what I’m going to say and just speak from my heart? And I chose the latter. I just decided these are challenging conversations and I going to speak from my heart. So I did."
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