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Kirk Herbstreit attempts to walk back comments about 2020 college football season

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit shocked the sports world last month when he said he’d be “shocked” if there was a season in 2020. Now, he’s trying to walk back those comments.

Herbstreit made his initial comments on ESPN Radio in response to the growing COVID-19 threat:

“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” Herbstreit said at the time (h/t TMZ Sports). “Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a (coronavirus) vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”

Not surprisingly, Herbstreit caught plenty of grief for his take.

Now, he’s singing a different tune.

“It was kind of misconstrued, misrepresented based on what I said in a radio interview and how it was taken by a lot of people,” Herbstreit said, via Riley Gates of 247 Sports. “…I was almost just thinking out loud. It was the day baseball was supposed to start, Opening Day, and we were reminiscing about how sad it is that we weren’t having any baseball. I was like, ‘Hey, man, this thing’s scary. We may not even have football.’ I was kind of thinking out loud at that point.

“…I’m not making any predictions. I really wasn’t that night. I was trying to explain how real this pandemic is.”

Go back and re-read what Herbstreit said initially. It’s pretty clear that he meant exactly what was spoken. That being said, there is a ton of pressure to get sports back amid a push straight from the top of the United States government to get states to open up. So, it’s not surprising that he’s trying to change the narrative.