On Thursday night, TNT gave each of their NBA studio hosts airtime to express their feelings about Tuesday’s presidential election. Charles Barkley said that, while he didn’t vote for Donald Trump, “we have to give him a chance.” Kenny Smith decried Trump’s divisive campaign rhetoric, saying he “crossed a moral line.” Shaquille O’Neal mostly agreed with Barkley.
The most thoughtful remarks came from host Ernie Johnson, who seemed to be on the verge of tears as he described his conflicted emotions following Tuesday’s vote.
For the video-challenged among you, a transcription:
When this campaign season started, I felt like I’d been dealt a bad hand. Had these couple of choices. And there were trust issues with Hillary Clinton that I couldn’t get past. And there was the inflammatory rhetoric from Donald Trump, which to me was incomprehensible and indefensible. I couldn’t vote for either one. For the first time in going to the polls for 42 years, I hit the write-in button and I voted for John Kasich. And I left knowing that John Kasich wasn’t gonna win, but I left with a clear conscience because I hadn’t settled.Number two, I’m hopeful. I watched the video today on CNN, what was going on in the White House with Donald Trump and President Obama. I was hopeful and I was encouraged that there will be a difference between the President Trump and the campaigning Trump. And I’m with these guys: We have to give him a chance.But here’s the deal: I just hope that he’s all in, in fixing the wounds in this country and the divides that separate this country. And I want to be part of that, too. And for me to be part of it, I have to look in the mirror and I have to say: ‘How am I gonna be a better man? How am I gonna be a better neighbor? How am I gonna be a better citizen? How am I gonna be a better American? How can I be a fountain and not a drain?’And number three, I know you’re not supposed to talk about politics and religion but we’re already talking about politics so I’m gonna go the ‘R’ direction, too: I never know from one election to the next who’s gonna be in the Oval Office, but I always know who’s on the throne. And I’m on this earth because God created me, and that’s who I answer to. I’m a Christian. I follow a guy named Jesus, you might have heard of him. And the greatest commandment he gave me was to love others. And scripture also tells us to pray for our leaders, and that’s what I’m gonna do: I’m gonna pray for Donald Trump, I’m gonna pray for all those people right now who feel like they’re on the outside looking in, who are afraid at this point. I’ll pray for them, too. In short, I’m praying for America, and I’m praying that one day we’re gonna look back and we’re gonna say: ‘You know what? That Donald Trump presidency? That was all right.’ But I’m praying.
Ernie Johnson clearly doesn’t feel like sticking to sports right now, and that’s fine.
Here are the other three hosts’ comments: