Locked On Podcast Host Josh Neighbors Let Go After Playing Bob Huggins Audio
By Kyle Koster
Bob Huggins called into a Cincinnati radio station on Monday and used a homophobic slur in an attempt to dig Xavier fans. He quickly apologized and promised to accept the consequences of his actions. West Virginia responded by allowing him to stay on as the men’s basketball coach but levied a significant fine and will send him to sensitivity training.
It’s always tough to predict what the fallout from these incidents, which still happen far too frequently, will be. There was some genuine surprise that Huggins remains gainfully employed.
Josh Neighbors, former host of the Locked on Big 12 podcast, is paying a steeper price for his decision to play Huggins’ unedited comments on his show before offering reaction.
In a video posted to Twitter last night, Neighbors explained that he had been let go and explained why he made the editorial choice.
“I made the conscious decision to play Bob Huggins’ comments in their entirety and also without censoring the slurs that he used. I did that because I thought it was important to play and get the full context of what he said. I followed that up by saying that I thought what he had said was abhorrent, I thought it was hateful, and also I said if I were the AD I would have fired him. The folks at Locked On felt differently. They felt because I was willingly posting hate speech, which I did — I was not using the hate speech, I was obviously trying to combat it and say it’s terrible and awful and should not happen.”
Neighbors said he understands that Locked On’s zero-tolerance policy means precisely that and it’s their prerogative to enforce it.
“I thought I was using my platform to combat the hate speech to play it in its entirety to say it’s unacceptable, to give the effect of ‘oh my god, that was reckless, careless, and hateful.' It did not matter to the folks at Locked On.”
While it does seem messed-up that the person who used these words with pretty clear intent to demean gets to keep doing his job and the person who simply played them as a launching pad to decry them is out seems unfair, the outcome here was somewhat predictable. Zero-tolerance policies are in place in part to take difficult decisions out of the hands of decision-makers, for better and worse.