This is what backtracking sounds like.
ESPN college football commentator Kirk Herbstreit caught a lot of heavy criticism in March when he made a comment about the future of the 2020 college football season. Herbstreit said on ESPN radio that he would be “shocked” to see a college football and NFL season happen because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And then, the backlash came. Whether it was fans, coaches, athletic directors or more, everyone had their own opinions on Herbstreit’s take. But on a conference call on Monday morning, Herbstreit said his comments weren’t painted entirely accurate.
“It was kind of misconstrued, misrepresented based on what I said in a radio interview and how it was taken by a lot of people,” Herbstreit said. “…I was almost just thinking out loud. It was the day baseball was supposed to start, Opening Day, and we were reminiscing about how sad it is that we weren’t having any baseball. I was like, ‘Hey, man, this thing’s scary. We may not even have football.’ I was kind of thinking out loud at that point.
“…I’m not making any predications. I really wasn’t that night. I was trying to explain how real this pandemic is.”
Just like now he’s trying to explain how real ESPN’s pressure to deliver product is.
“I’ve talked to a ton of people who are actual decisionmakers in the college game — can’t speak about the NFL — but in the college game. I think what they’ve done is they built 3-4 contingency plans,” Herbstreit said. “Based on what happens with this virus and what Dr. (Anthony) Facui and others recommend, the President, these governors. I think, ‘Okay, everything’s okay, status quo, show up on campus in July, two-a-days, regular season, here we go.’ That’s the first contingency. And then they built it all the way back — the second, the third, the fourth — all the way back to a willingness to start in late February or March, turning it into a spring sport and playing in March, April, May, and playing postseason in June, which I think (would be) a last-ditch effort.
“Which proves how willing the administrators are with the NCAA, the conference commissioners, ADs and presidents, to have a college football season. They’re going to do everything they can, if it comes to that extreme, to be able to potentially have a 2020 season.”
And broadcasts, Herbie. Don’t forget the broadcasts.