ESPN Apologizes For James Carville’s On-Air Conspiracy Theory Comments

Phillip FaraoneGetty Images for Politicon

ESPN issued an on-air apology Saturday following comments made by political commentator James Carville during his appearance on ESPN’s College GameDay show. Carville is an LSU graduate and Louisiana native. He’s been promoting a conspiracy theory about the SEC favoring the University of Alabama in recent weeks and talked about it Saturday, the day Alabama played LSU.

A controversial targeting call was made against LSU linebacker Devin White two weeks ago when the team faced Mississippi State. The SEC declined to overturn it despite protests that it was a bad call. NBC Sports explains that because of the call and because LSU didn’t play last week, White would not play in the first half of Saturday’s game against Alabama that was especially important because of how it will affect the race for the College Football Playoffs. During his appearance, James Carville didn’t hesitate in expressing his displeasure and described what he sees as evidence that the SEC favors top-ranked Alabama.

“Against Tennessee best defensive player couldn’t play against Alabama cause of the SEC. Missouri’s best defensive player couldn’t play against Alabama ’cause the SEC kicked him out. (Texas 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. Nothing. Everybody in the world that saw that tape says he went into (Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald) with his hands. He barely touched him. And that is unfair, unjust totally.”

Carville’s choice of clothing was also a protest against SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. At the top left of his shirt was Sankey’s name followed by a heart. The word “Alabama” appeared on the other side of the heart. The phrase “Bec mon tchu s’il vous plait” also appeared in large letters across Carville’s shirt, a Cajun phrase that translates as “Kiss my a** please.”

In their apology, ESPN said that, while they welcome diverse opinions, Carville’s statements in Baton Rouge were “over the top.” They then offered an apology directly to Greg Sankey.

Sporting News reported that Carville also wrote a guest column for Baton Rouge news source Advocate in which he charged collusion between the SEC and Alabama and voiced his distrust of the SEC Friday.

“I would trust the Saudi government more than I’d trust the SEC. He (White) is our best player we got, no reason he shouldn’t be playing.”

Carville took to Twitter Saturday to attack ESPN for their apology, calling them “gutless” and saying they “can’t help but suck up to power.”