Rece Davis on Herbstreit criticism: 'It really ticked me off'

Rece Davis on Herbstreit criticism: 'It really ticked me off'

Football

Rece Davis on Herbstreit criticism: 'It really ticked me off'

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One of Kirk Herbstreit’s colleagues at ESPN came to Herbstreit’s defense this week in response to his controversial comments during a segment on College GameDay this past Saturday.

Speaking about college football players opting out of bowl games, Herbstreit stated, among other things, that “this era of player just doesn’t love football” like players back in his day loved football. After drawing plenty of criticism for his remarks, Herbstreit later took to Twitter to clarify what he said.

On an episode of the The ESPN College Football Podcast this week, College GameDay host Rece Davis gave his reaction to Herbstreit’s comments and explained why he was “angered” by the blowback his colleague and friend received.

“I went back and watched the segment that people reacted to on social media, pulling Kirk’s one sentence out of that long discussion and seizing on it and turning it into something it wasn’t,” Davis said. “I’m not going to use the phrase ‘out of context’ because it wasn’t out of context. But he did thoroughly clarify what he meant when he said players don’t love football in this era. He went back and clarified it. He was talking about a segment of players who look solely at the NFL or bust, and everything else is a far second. There’s nothing wrong with having that goal, and it was a perspective, and he clarified it. The reaction I saw to it angered me – from a lot of our colleagues in the media, from some fans.”

Davis understands that people in the media, especially those with a large voice like Herbstreit, must own up to and take responsibility for what they say.

At the same time, Davis says he was upset that the entirety of Herbstreit’s comments weren’t taken into account by those who bashed him.

“Look, you have to wear it,” Davis said. “When you do what we do for a living, it’s incumbent on you to say exactly what you mean, and inevitably, all of us – I’ve done it, you’ve done it – inevitably, sometimes we aren’t going to be as precise, or in this particular case, a little more broad than what we meant.

“But it was really unfortunate to me that people didn’t listen to the whole thing, or chose not to listen to the whole thing when he went back and clarified. Because some of his points are completely valid, and he went back and even said the phrase, ‘I’m not talking about all of them.’ Yet, to attach injuries to it and then use Kirk’s status to be able to get more attention for what you want to say, it really ticked me off.”

Davis added that he knows “it’s part of the business,” but he feels for Herbstreit, considering how passionate he is about college football and his connection to the sport.

“To know how much he cares about this sport and to know his attachment to it – not only from an emotional level, but from having sons who play and from his relationships with players now and his desire to want the best for them – I mean, to portray that as something more than just an in-the-moment, overly broad statement – which by the way, was completely clarified within the same segment – irritated me. But like I joked with (Chris) Fallica about getting booed, sometimes you get a fastball in the ribs, and you’ve got to wear it. It might not have been the right thing. It wasn’t the right thing. But, anyway.”

–Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

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