Kansas City sportscaster Jack Harry has vehemently denied changing the Kansas men’s basketball team’s nickname from Jayhawks to Gayhawks.
The broadcast audio is unclear but, to some viewers last Sunday night on the NBC affiliate, it sounded like the sportscaster said “Gayhawks,” and apparently a strong Twitter firestorm followed. See embed above.
Harry is apparently known locally for not being shy about criticizing the team and for tweaking the team’s fans in the process. Harry co-hosts a weekly sports show on the station that airs after NBC Sunday Night Football in addition to his appearances on the stations’ evening news broadcasts.
KHSB Channel 41 news director Carrie Hoffman expressed support for Jack Harry: “We believe he said Jayhawks. 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.”
The next day Harry, who reportedly is a Mizzou fan, addressed the Jayhawks vs. Gayhawks controversy. He said “During our 10 o’clock sports report last night, I was having a discussion with Frank Boal. We were talking about the Kansas Jayhawks. Somehow, someway, I don’t know what happened but it got out on the social media today that I used a derogatory term in talking about the Kansas Jayhawks. Believe me folks, I would never, ever go on the air–that’s not what I am all about. I’ve had my go-arounds with Jayhawks fans, but I would never say what I’ve been accused of… and I felt compelled to get that out today.”
Watch and listen to the video and draw your own conclusions about whether Jack Harry referred to the KU team as “Gayhawks.”