Rece Davis Defends Kirk Herbstreit Over Comments Made On College Gameday

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As the college football community tees off on ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit for comments made on players opting out of bowl games, College Gameday colleague Rece Davis has come to his defense.

“He went back and clarified it,” said Davis, on Monday’s The ESPN College Football Podcast. “He was talking about a segment of players who look solely at the ‘NFL or bust’ and everything else is a far second. There is 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. And, look, you have to wear it.

“When you do what we do for a living, it’s incumbent on you to say exactly when you mean and 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.’”

On the New Year’s Day edition of College Gameday, Herbstreit spoke about the high amount of opt outs during bowl season and said, “I just think this era of players doesn’t love football.”

His comments drew the ire of fans, fellow pundits and even players, who pushed back on Herbstreit’s notion. Herbstreit later clarified his comments in a Twitter post.

“Just wanted to clarify some of my comments from earlier today. Of course some players love the game the same today as ever. But some don’t,” he wrote. “I’ll always love the players of this game and sorry if people thought I generalized or lumped them all into one category.”

David Pollack, another colleague of Herbstreit, said people in the media ran with Herbstreit’s comments as a means to be negative about the sport.

“There are several people in the media that do our job that have to be negative all the time about our sport,” Pollack said. “Our sport is so great and we get to cover it and you’re as positive as it gets, and Kirk is as positive as it gets most of the time. I think it’s just interesting that we have to take it to negative town every time we can find an outlet to take it to negative town.”

Herbstreit’s comments ironically took place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It was on that field just a few hours later, where No. 6 Ohio State and No. 11 Utah played in the most entertaining and watched game of the bowl season. Herbstreit made a point to mention the opt outs from the Buckeyes, which clearly didn’t impact the game.

16.6 million people watched the Buckeyes down the Utes, 48-45, in the Rose Bowl, more than both College Football Playoff Semifinal games. So much for the players not “loving” football.

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Follow Nick Geddes on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes. 

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.


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  1. It is “a fact” that when you are Rich & Handsome making million$$/year doing what every goggle-eyed foam-fingered lunatic fan is convinced HE SHOULD BE DOING except Life is so unfair … you are going to take heat from aforementioned “goggle-eyed ………”.

    When your “job” for which you are paid million$/year is to give your opinions on a live mic in a free form conversational exchange, you are going to express opinions that your haters will hate because you said them. Tough bizness …

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