ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit brought to tears discussing racial injustice on 'College GameDay'

The beginning of college football season also marked the return of ESPN’s “College GameDay” to the airwaves on Saturday. Though the crew wasn’t together on campus for a high-profile Week 1 game somewhere, it was a welcome sight for college football fans after a long, winding offseason.

There was plenty of discussion about COVID-19 and how it has already affected the season, but the most notable portion of the broadcast was the heartfelt discussion about racial injustice in the United States. It was a discussion that saw Kirk Herbstreit overcome with emotion.

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In recent weeks, college football teams throughout the country have engaged in displays against racial injustice and police brutality following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Some teams, including Alabama, decided not to practice and instead participated in on-campus marches. There were similar displays and protests earlier this offseason following the death of George Floyd.

Some of the college football players involved in leading those efforts spoke with ESPN’s Maria Taylor in a pre-taped roundtable discussion.

Once that piece aired, the GameDay panelists each spoke with the focus eventually being turned toward Herbstreit, who spoke about listening and empathizing with the Black community and those who feel marginalized. He was brought to tears.

“I was talking to David Shaw, the head coach at Stanford and he shared a quote from Benjamin Franklin. He said, ‘Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are,’” Herbstreit said. “The Black community is hurting. How do you listen to these stories and not feel pain and not want to help? You can’t relate to that if you’re white, but you can listen and you can try to help because this is not OK.”

ESPN broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit watches warmups before an NCAA college football game between Florida State and Mississippi in Orlando, Fla., Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Florida State won 45-34. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
ESPN broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit was overcome with emotion discussing racial injustice during a segment on ESPN's College GameDay. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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