Kentucky Wildcats running back Ray Davis Syndication: The Courier-Journal

The Kentucky Wildcats powered their way to a  28-17 victory over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Saturday night. One of the heroes on the night for Kentucky was running back Ray Davis, who scored the final touchdown of the game, putting it out of reach.

After that touchdown score, ESPN+/SEC Network+ announcer Pete Sousa decided to use it as an opportunity to share Davis’s incredible story, going from being homeless and in foster care at 12 years old to a college football player, first at Vanderbilt and now at Kentucky. Sousa had linked to the story on his social media accounts before the game.

On paper that sounds like a decent thing to mention during the game. Play-by-play announcers always look for ways to enliven the action on the field by injecting interesting or endearing facts about the players. However, the phrasing that Sousa used ended up correlating the two aspects of Davis’s life in a way that rubbed many people the wrong way.

“There is Ray Davis. 51 yards on that drive alone. Running and receiving,” said Sousa as the camera lingered on the RB. “He’s a guy, transferring over from Vanderbilt. 9 months ago when he jumped in the portal, everybody wanted him. 11 years ago, as a foster kid, really nobody wanted him.”

You can probably see why that didn’t quite come out the way Sousa hoped. Conflating the college football transfer portal to a child’s experience as a foster child who felt unwanted is not exactly apples to apples. It’s also not something to discuss flippantly. And it upset a lot of people who were watching.

The lack of context on the viral clip is a tricky thing because many people who say it probably didn’t see Sousa’s tweet from before the game, in which he said “This amazing dude is an amazing story on and off the field.” Sousa is not the villain that he’s been painted as, but it was still a rather unfortunate way to work a very important issue into the football game discussion.


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to