Joining the growing chorus of those hoping sportscasters will stop injecting left-wing politics into their sports announcing, Fox Sports’ Joe Buck recently said that sports announcers need to dump their focus on politics and stick to sports.
In an interview with Sporting News, Buck said he felt that constantly injecting politics into sports is bound to anger many fans.
“I think people watch these games to get away from that stuff. I think you risk alienating, and upsetting, a lot of people when you start going down that rabbit hole,” Buck said.
The sportscaster noted that as a game announcer he needs to keep his eye on the ball, if you will.
“I’ve got to be aware that another play or another pitch is about to happen. My job is to call the action. Not stand on a soapbox and go on and on and on about a point, and forget about the game,” he said.
Buck also had a few points to make about the recent anti-American protests by former San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“We don’t cover (the national anthem) during the regular season because of the timing before a kick. And never have. For the big events we do, obviously. With him kneeling, it was a story,” Buck said. “I think our bosses wisely didn’t want to appear that we were just ignoring it. Because it was something that people were talking about. Certainly after the game and certainly during the game on social media. You have to address it. So we recorded him kneeling.”
Buck went on to say that when the video of the protest rolled, he had to have a specific, written piece to say about it so that it could be terse and clear:
It’s tough. Because we’re all on a play clock. You come out of that (commercial) break, you haven’t thought about it, you’re just trying to wing that — your words can get you in a lot of trouble. It’s a dangerous minefield to walk through in today’s world. Much more so than when my dad was doing this or Harry Caray was doing this. Everybody’s antenna is up. If you want to get yourself in trouble, come off half-cocked on this stuff. Just wing it and hope for the best. You better nail it. Because if you mis-speak in those 12 seconds, then you’re trying to get it back. It just becomes a mess.
Buck continued recognizing that people aren’t tuning into games to hear him spout off about politics:
Unless I’m completely wrong, and I know in this case I’m not, nobody’s tuning into the 49ers-Cowboys game to hear my political opinions, whether it’s about Trump, or Kaepernick or Flint, Michigan. That’s not why they’re watching a football game. It’s misplaced. I hear guys doing it at times. It seems self-serving. Like they want to inject themselves into the conversation. Wait for a talk show. Go on Bill Maher’s show. Bill O’Reilly. Whoever. I think people watch these games to get away from that stuff. I think you risk alienating and upsetting a lot of people when you start going down that rabbit hole.
So, in Buck’s opinion, sports guys really need to remember what their job is. And that is sports, not politics.
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