Did KSHBs Jack Harry refer to the Kansas Jayhawks as Gayhawks? He and the station say no, but plenty of KU fans are up in arms.
By TIM ENGLE
The Kansas City Star
Heres what we know. Sunday night, sports director Harry was chatting with Frank Boal during a 41 Sports Sunday segment on KSHBs late news.
But, Harry asked Boal, dont you think theyre overrated, these Jayhawks and at this point he either repeated Jayhawks or said something like Gayhawks. In a YouTube clip making the rounds on social media, the second word is a bit hard to make out.
Harrys stance is that he didnt use the term at all. He addressed the controversy on KSHBs 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts Monday and also responded in a YouTube video.
Tuesday morning, Harry sounded genuinely distressed by the uproar.
I have never even thought about that word, even using that word. I havent used that word to my friends, Harry said.
Yes, hes aware that hes viewed as an MU fan. But Sunday night, he says, he did a commentary on what Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel did wrong this season.
In this instance, theres this deep-seated vengeance between some KU people and my reporting, Harry said. This was an opportunity to jump on a guy. Thats the thing with Twitter. Somebody puts something up and everybody believes it.
Channel 41 news director Carrie Hofmann on Tuesday reiterated the stations support of Harry but apologized if some viewers heard something other than Jayhawks.
I think he said Jayhawks, Hofmann said. Now, I think people can hear Gayhawks as I have when youre trying to listen for Gayhawks.
I think its a bit of a flub and he was getting animated, (but) I do not think he said Gayhawks.
She added: This certainly isnt the first time hes had issues with KU fans in particular. Theres a definite love to hate Jack by KU fans.
Still, she said Harry was completely flabbergasted, shocked when he got wind of the controversy.
Randy Thurman, KSHBs creative services director, said the station talked to every crew member here that night who saw it live on the set, including Boal.
Everyone is just as surprised by this, Thurman said.
In the YouTube response, Harry says in part: Somehow, someway, I dont know what happened, but it got out on the social media that I used a derogatory term in talking about the Kansas Jayhawks. Ive had my go-arounds with Jayhawk fans, but I would never say what I have been accused of.
The station also issued a response Monday on its website and on Facebook.
It also tweeted this: We stand by Jack and encourage him to speak his mind when it comes to sports in Kansas City and beyond. We checked the video (of the broadcast), our own video, spoke w/ Jack, and determined he didnt say (Gayhawks).
The opinionated Harry is a fixture on Kansas City television, covering sports for three local stations.
Vote going against Harry
In a KansasCity.com poll that asks whether or not KSHBs Jack Harry referred to the Kansas Jayhawks as Gayhawks, the voting was definitely not in Harrys favor.
As of 10:45 Tuesday night, 2,023 voted for Yep. It's obvious that he said it.
No. Not even close, drew 676 votes.
Maybe ... maybe not ... it's impossible to tell, received 658 votes.
Voting continues today.