Posted December 10, 2013

Kansas City station stands behind Jack Harry after “Gayhawks” controversy

Kansas
Jack Harry

Jack Harry has been a controversial anchor in Kansas City for more than 10 years. (KSHB Action News)

Kansas City-based news station KSHB 41 Action News is standing by sportscaster Jack Harry during a social media storm.

Last Sunday night, during the station’s weekly sports show which runs after NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Harry referred to the University of Kansas men’s basketball team as what sounded like “Gayhawks” as opposed to “Jayhawks.” The phrase “Gayhawk” has been used as a pejorative term toward that fan base and Harry has a reputation in that market for tweaking the KU fanbase.  The video is here for you to judge:

“We believe he said Jayhawks,” said Carrie Hofmann, the news director of KSHB 41 Action News, an NBC affiliate. “It’s open to interpretation. I think there are people who hear Jayhawk, I think there are people who hear ‘Gayhawk’ and I think there are people who hear variations of those. I stand behind Jack. I believe Jack. I understand what people think and I certainly am sorry if people are interpreting it any other way.”

Hofmann said she spoke with Harry by phone on Monday after she learned of the video circulating among the blogosphere. “I would describe him as being flabbergasted,” Hofmann said, when asked about their conversation. “He said, ‘I would have never said it.’”

Hofmann said she had seen the clip multiple times and spoken to people in the studio during the segment, as well as Harry’s on-air partner. “I did my own internal investigation,” Hofmann said.  “I feel like we have given our statement. Jack has given his statement. We went on TV and said the same. We will let this play out.”

Hofmann said there have been a handful of telephone calls to the station complaining about the segment. Obviously, the station has been inundated with complaints on social media via its Twitter account and Facebook page. “He’s [Harry] always been unprofessional,” said Jason King, a former Kansas City Star and ESPN sports reporter who now works at Bleacher Report. “He just tries to get a rise out of people.”

Hofmann said Harry, who has been with the station since 2002, was never taken off the air. The broadcaster works Sunday to Thursday on the station’s 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. CT broadcast, as well as co-hosts a Sunday night show after Sunday Night Football.

“Jack is no stranger to controversy,” Hofmann said. “He is a vocal sportscaster. That’s who he is, he’s good at his job, and he has been a lightning rod. KU fans don’t like him generally.”

35 comments
matthewbare
matthewbare

he said gayhawks.
he meant it as an insult (as he often insults KU to rile up the fans and boost ratings)

jack harry is anti gay and promotes a culture where homosexuals are demeaned.


channel 41 and jack harry are equally liable for at least not apologizing, termination not necessary. Please just right the wrong to the LGBT (etc and allies) community. At the very least do not promote a culture of bias toward gays, and if you do (which you -JH and ch. 41 did) please apologize. That is all that is needed.


nobody seriously cares if you make fun of a college fanbase, we get it (ratings...etc..). 

MethZooHillbilly
MethZooHillbilly

I don't care that he said it, but the gutless worm  should at least have the ovaries to admit it.

Alex(Eugene,OR)
Alex(Eugene,OR)

He said Gayhawks, what I find really pathetic is the station trying to deny it. What cowards. They should either stand up and say they are standing behind him in spite of his saying Gayhawks, or do something to correct him if they believe there is something wrong with using Gay as an insult. Instead they try to walk the middle with an obvious lie. Pathetic.

Icytofu
Icytofu

Jack Harry is a classless man

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

He not only said 'Gayhawks' he stressed it. No question about it. None at all.

SemperFiDTM
SemperFiDTM

he absolutely positively said "Go FU-K yourself San Diego".

BobMarly
BobMarly

Who gives a ....!! They are GAYHAWKS!! We have been calling them that for 25 yrs!! And they suck at football and BASKETBALL!! 



bhpitts
bhpitts

The issue is that it is not acceptable to use gay as a slur.

Lettuce
Lettuce

It's no secret that Jack Harry is a KU hater.  Throughout the years he has trashed the University of Kansas at every opportunity.  Given his track record, its not hard to believe he said Gayhawks.  I'm sure he refers to KU as the gayhawks when he isn't on air so it would make sense that eventually he would slip up and say it LIVE.  Jack Harry is a blowhard and I think he should be canned......but for reasons other than this.  He's a terrible war-mongering poor excuse for a sports anchor.

muser
muser

Anything from NBC is garbage. Can we now expect an editorial where it's suggested that someone defecate in his mouth? 

dandogwood
dandogwood

Gayhawks sounds about right for a Kansas team. deal with it.

DougBeers
DougBeers

He needs to man up.  He said Gayhawks and he needs to be a man about it.


effeweall
effeweall

the pic after  the jump he looks like he is trying to pass a basketball.  this is a sports story?

APinKC
APinKC

Not even close.  The audio is clearly distorted through the whole clip.  Apparently people don't understand the difference between professional audio quality and recording from a smart phone.  Plus, Frank Boal would have had some kind of reaction had heard what everyone else thinks they are hearing.

T_guy35
T_guy35

The insistence on the part of KSHB that he didn't say it is more offensive then what he actually said. Do they think we are all a bunch of idiots or something? He clearly said Gayhawks any denial of that is ridiculous. If Harry and KSHB had just acknowledged this fact and apologized than it would have been a non-story. Instead they insult the intelligence of anyone with ears by saying people are only hearing what they want to hear. What a joke. 

chicorican
chicorican

Clearly he said Gayhawks. Anyone that heard Jayhawks in that clip needs their hearing checked. The lack of action by the station is deplorable but not surprising.

BradShapiroKC
BradShapiroKC

The station's response is garbage. I'm a KU fan, and I actually don't mind him because he has been harsh on both K-State and MU as well.  The issue I have is that it is clear as day what he said, and yet they are trying to act like it didn't happen.  I think they would be better off stating what happened, apologize and move on.  More prominent public figures have said much worse and done much worse, but trying to act like it didn't happen and expect it to go away is laughable.

T_guy35
T_guy35

@BobMarly Someone needs to put down the meth pipe and get out his trailer and get some fresh air. 

Cool
Cool

@DougBeers It is hard for chickenhawks to man up, they prefer the boys.

DougL
DougL

@LarryABrooks  anyone with the least bit of intelligence cares because it's a slur against gay people.

rlouie11
rlouie11

you've got to be kidding yourself!!! he clearly says Gayhawks!!! stop being such a suck up!!!!

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

@APinKC I wouldn't be so sure ("some kind...reaction").  Frank appears to be a pro, knows Harry's rep and knows better than to drop his jaw in shock, short of something un-patriotic, like some kinda' greenhorn. 

BobMarly
BobMarly

you are an idiot, a gayhawk idiot!! so, SUCK IT!!!!

ChiefBill1079
ChiefBill1079

@BradShapiroKC If I were gay, I'd be pissed he was lumping me in with the beakers.  That this has their panties all twisted is absolutely hilarious.

Lettuce
Lettuce

Do you know what a metaphor is Larry?  If not, get a dictionary.