Normally College GameDay guests range from fun to harmless to mildly annoying. Today, with the show in Baton Rouge ahead of tonight’s marquee Alabama-LSU contest, LSU alum James Carville found a new lane: so crazy ESPN is forced to issue an on-air apology later in the day.
Here’s Carville’s rant on the targeting penalty called on LSU defender Devin White, which Rece Davis actually set him up for:
🤔 James Carville suggests there is a conspiracy in the SEC to benefit Bama. pic.twitter.com/4zes5Vkw6K
— The Go Big Redcast (@GoBigRedCast) November 3, 2018
“Tennessee’s best defensive player couldn’t play against Alabama because of the SEC, Missouri’s best defensive player couldn’t play against Alabama because the SEC kicked him out. A&M’s best defensive player couldn’t play against Alabama because he was taken out. And now, the best defensive player in the conference is not going to play the first half for nothing, he did nothing wrong.”
Whoops! There was a bit of joking pushback from Davis, and the whole on-set crew seemed like they were in on a joke, as you can see more from the end of this clip:
Davis had to know what was coming, given the invitation and the fact that Carville’s stance was on record two weeks ago via an op-ed in the Baton Rouge Advocate. ESPN, of course, does plenty of business with the SEC, and even if they didn’t, having Carville voicing the idea that the playing field isn’t level (well, not level in a way we haven’t come to accept as a given) wasn’t a great look.
They must have realized it one way or another, because a few hours later, ESPN’s Chris Cotter tossed in this apology to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, via AL.com’s Matt Scalici:
ESPN just apologized on the air for James Carville’s comments about Greg Sankey on Gameday pic.twitter.com/OUoGeS1s3h
— Matt Scalici (@MattScalici) November 3, 2018
Carville does not seem quite so remorseful:
Grabbing bite to eat @philsoysterbar and I see gutless ESPN cut in their show to bow down to the SEC. well I got documentary evidence they knew what they were gonna get on air but still can’t help but suck up to power. #GeauxTigers #speaktruthtopower #releasethetexts pic.twitter.com/G29ew5mf9K
— James Carville (@JamesCarville) November 3, 2018
When it comes to GameDay guests going forward, maybe ESPN can find a solid middle ground between James Carville and The Chainsmokers.