Now Is Not the Time to 'Stick to Sports,' Says Impassioned Sports Talk Host

The Howard and Jeremy Show
May 29, 2020 - 3:22 pm
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For better or worse, many fans prefer social and political issues be left out of their sports consumption. For many, sports serves as a distraction from those very topics.

But what if there are no sports?

That's the awkward position in which many journalists and broadcasters find themselves due to the coronavirus crisis. To top it off, social unrest is soaring amid massive unemployment and the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer.

Jeremy White of the Howard & Jeremy Show on WGR in Buffalo said now is not the time for sports reporters to feign neutrality, during an emotional plea on Friday's show.

"This pandemic has opened my eyes -- just a little bit -- to why we do sometimes stick to sports," White said. "And by that I mean, it's been a really rough time for 10-plus weeks, going on 11 weeks. There are no games. The games do provide a distraction. I do totally understand someone that says like, 'I come to you guys to get away form what's going on.' But then of course there are going to be times when that is not possible. And today what's going on in Minneapolis, this is not possible to do, to stay away from all this stuff.

"There's just so much that's built into this. Like, 'this is a sports station.' That's right. We're also humans on this station. I care about people. I care about a lot of people. What else matters today in the world, right now? The idea that like, 'Oh it's just a difference of opinion.' It's not anymore. It's about humanity. .. It's not about opinions anymore."

In a separate appearance, WCCO sports host Henry Lake fought through tears while opening up about what he described as a painful time for the Twin Cities and black Americans.

"I love this state, I love this city. I'm proud to be a Minnesotan, but at the same time, I'm a black man in America. So, when you see the city affected like this, and you see businesses that are affected like this -- and at the same time I have to wake up every day, and I have to be concerned about my safety, and I have to be concerned about if I'm going to lose my life. And I have to navigate different things in our society -- it's stressful. So, when I'm talking to you guys [on air], it's hard."

Under normal circumstances, White said on WGR, athletes themselves would speak on these issues -- but that's not possible because of the pandemic.

"One of the reasons that I miss sports right now, is that sports would be amplifying what is happening. And sports figures who speak publicly on important issues -- institutional racism, things like this -- they're not silent, they're just not in the public eye right now."