Joe Buck Wants To Keep The Politics Out Of Sports


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Earlier this week, Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck sat down with Sporting News to talk about, among other things, the encroachment on politics on sportscasting. Here’s what Buck had to say:

“There are news shows that I watch, whether it’s on CNN or Fox. They’re debating these issues for an hour. If there’s something that kind of blends its way into politics, or some sort of racial situation or some sort of societal situation, 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.

I said this to a writer at The New York Times with regard to the Kaepernick situation: 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. 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.

At some point early in the game, Richie Zyontz, our producer, said, “We’re going to roll into video of Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, be ready for it.” That’s the time where you have to really prepare — and be ready. It’s to the point where I script that. I have to sit down beforehand and think, “If I have 15 seconds, which is the most I’m going to have, how am I going to use those 15 seconds to state what he’s doing, why he’s doing it and what the goal is for him doing it?”

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.

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.”

Seems like a pretty straightforward opinion. Breitbart later saw that quote and said Buck was joining the “growing chorus of those hoping sportscasters will stop injecting left-wing politics into their sports announcing“. That’s an interesting, albeit not entirely surprising, assumption since Buck never specifically mentioned it being a “left-wing” issue. Actually, Joe Buck’s political preferences aren’t easily found.

Even when prompted, Buck seems to shy aware from putting himself in either camp. In April, he appeared on Bloomberg podcast, answering questions while sidestepped politically loaded questions. Like a lot of journalists, Buck seems to appreciate objectivity. As a result, the internet seems unsure of whether Buck’s a Democrat or a Republican – and I’m guessing he likes it that way.

One Response to "Joe Buck Wants To Keep The Politics Out Of Sports"

  1. mikebunting@shaw.ca   Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    This is ridiculous. Sports is just fluff, a diversion to help people avoid the serious issues in the world, esp. the US, today.

    Reply

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