The 1 Big Thing is often one of the highlights of Scott Van Pelt’s midnight SportsCenter.
The segment actually dates back to his radio days, on both The Scott Van Pelt Show and its final iteration, SVP & Russillo. (RIP.)
Back then, the topics were sometimes serious, like his 1 Big Thing from January 5th of 2015 on Stuart Scott’s battle with cancer. They were also frequently just silly, as with his lengthy rave about Chopped, which is apparently lost to the Internet. (He came up with “Mayan burial dirt” as a potential mystery box ingredient. It was excellent.)
Last night, though, SVP took on the fallout from Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit out the national anthem. It wasn’t a commentary on the rightness or wrongness of the decision, but rather an attempt to discern why exactly we as a society lose sight of what’s important when these discussions arise.
Here it is:
Here’s the final passage, and essentially the thesis statement, in case you’re unable to watch the video:
Now, among the many freedoms we are afforded is freedom of speech. Colin Kaepernick used his, and we’ve all been using ours in the days since.
It’s also free to listen. And if you do, you aren’t surrendering even an inch of your position. You don’t automatically take an L.
Not much in life is black and white. It’s mostly gray. Even when it comes to issues of black and white. But people aren’t comfortable with that dialogue, are they?
If we’re truly trying to solve a problem, though, isn’t it very, very necessary?
That’s powerful, intelligent, and articulate, and he nails it. When everyone wants to yell at each other, either in an honest but misguided attempt to defend your ideals, or for the sake of building your own brand, or even just because you like yelling, the underlying issues at the center of any debate are going to be lost.
It’s simple advice, but it’s so necessary: you’re not losing anything at all by listening to those you disagree with.
SVP has always advocated for this sort of dialogue, on scales both large and small. It’s what elevated his radio show far above the average fare, and it’s what makes him such a fascinating television presence.
Here’s hoping his message gets through to folks, especially those that need it most.