Kirk Herbstreit breaks down in tears on ‘College GameDay’: ‘The Black community is hurting’

College football returned with a slate of games on Saturday, which also meant the return of “College GameDay” on ESPN.

While it’s typically a fun, energetic show to get fans excited about a full day of college football, Saturday’s episode was obviously different. This has been a unique year, not only with the coronavirus pandemic but also social justice issues arising from the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

When discussing how this has impacted players, Kirk Herbstreit became emotional on the set of “GameDay,” imploring empathy for those who are affected by systemic racism.

“The Black community is hurting,” Herbstreit said. “If you’ve listened over these last four months, how do you listen to these stories, and not feel pain? And not want to help?”

Herbstreit’s comments came after a segment on “College GameDay” in which players from across the country shared their perspectives on racial and social injustice. The segment featured several Power 5 players, who spoke with Maria Taylor.

When ESPN cut back to the “College GameDay” crew, they each took turns sharing their own thoughts. When it came to Herbstreit, he urged more white players to step up.

“If you’re a white player in these locker rooms, I think it’s incumbent upon you to really help with the change,” he said.

At the end of his segment, Herbstreit said everyone has to do better.

“We’ve got to lock arm-in-arm and be together,” he said. “In a football locker room, that stuff is gone. Those barriers are gone.”

As Herbstreit continued, other members on the “College GameDay” set became emotional as well. Taylor could be seen wiping away tears as Herbstreit tried to compose himself.

The segment eventually ended as ESPN faded to black for a commercial break.